This thesis explores the popular concept of how the depiction of sex and violence in the mass media affect aggressive and erotic behaviors in young viewers in terms of increasing the likelihood that such detrimental behaviors will be expressed when subjected to such content. The study focuses mainly upon mediated effects upon college students with the use of highly sexual and violent music videos. Basic concepts of symbolic interactionism, learning theory, and social feminist theory were utilized to discuss the use and influence of the media on the youth and to provide insight into the findings of the study itself. After being given a self-constructed questionnaire which included various items to measure subjects' level of aggressive and erotic behavior as well as their feminist attitudes, a total of 100 college students were separated into either experiment or control group and shown a sequence of four music videos. Only for the experiment group were subjects shown videos with sexual and violent content. Subjects were then given the same questionnaire to see if any change in their behaviors was found after being subjected to the video stimuli. The results found no significant change in behavioral responses for either aggression or eroticism before and after the videos. However, differences in scores for males and females with regards to erotic behavior suggested a significant relationship between sex and mediated effect in terms of erotic content. Females also found the videos to be less appealing and were more likely to be unaffected by their negative content as opposed to their male counterparts. In suggestion of future research, a long term study should be executed to properly analyze the extent of media influence in future social interactions. A sample of college students at a state school or of younger subjects is also suggested in order to obtain more conclusive result.


Hurst, Charles


Sociology and Anthropology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

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© Copyright 1993 Shawn M. Perry