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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1995 Sep;69(3):449-59.

Desensitization and resensitization to violence against women: effects of exposure to sexually violent films on judgments of domestic violence victims.

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Department of Communication, University of California, Santa Barbara 93106-4020, USA.


An experiment was conducted to examine the effects of repeated exposure to sexually violent films on emotional desensitization and callousness toward domestic abuse victims. Results indicated that emotional response, self-reported physiological arousal, and ratings of the extent to which the films were sexually violent all diminished with repeated film exposure. Three days following exposure to the final film, experimental participants expressed significantly less sympathy for domestic violence victims, and rated their injuries as less severe, than did a no-exposure comparison group. Five days after the final film exposure, their level of sensitivity to the domestic violence victims had rebounded to baseline levels established by the comparison group. Emotional responsiveness at the final film exposure was correlated with levels of sensitivity to the domestic violence victims 3 days later but not at subsequent observation points.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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