>I'm looking at theories on the emotional effects of screen violence for
>film and TV spectators.  I've found a great deal of debate in TV studies on
>such "effects."  Can anyone point me to a good overview, or specific
>leading voices, in film studies on this issue?  I'm especially interested
>in any application or refutation of Aristotle's ancient theory of
>catharsis, as a purging/purifying/clarifying of fear and sympathy (or
>terror and pity) through the watching of violent action onstage.

The best overviews available are:

Gauntlett, David (1995) Moving Experiences: Understanding
Television's Influences and Effects. London: John Libbey.

Freedman, Jonathan (1984) Effect of television violence on
aggressiveness. Psychological Bulletin. Nr 2:227-246.

Freedman, Jonathan (1986) Television violence and aggression: A
rejoinder. Psychological Bulletin. Nr 3:272-278.

Freedman, Jonathan (1988) Television violence and aggression: What
the evidence shows. I Oskamp, Stuart (ed) Television as a Social
Issue. Applied Social Psychology 8: 144-162. Newbury Park: Sage.

Cumberbatch, Guy & Howitt, Dennis (eds) (1989) A Measure of
Uncertainty: The Effects of the Mass Media:. London: John Libbey.

When it comes to catharsis theory, none of the studies conducted has
supported the 'purging' effect of fictitious violence. Then again,
neither has the studies  on aggressive behavior as an effect of media
violence (although lots of 'em claim to have found proof for such an

Ulf Dalquist

Ulf Dalquist                               Phone: +46-(0)8-39 21 68
Petrejusv 18                        Cell phone: +46-(0)739-88 17 05
121 38 Johanneshov Sweden            E-mail: [log in to unmask]

Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite