Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communications Media

First Advisor

Jay Start, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Luis Almeida, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Mark Piwinsky, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of real-life and dramatized media violence on undergraduate students' attitudes. An a priori power analysis determined the sample size of this 1x1 posttest only control group experiment based on a Cohen's d of 0.8 and a large effect size in order to appropriately extrapolate beyond the participants to the wider population. The control document was a one page excerpt from the novel The Chocolate Wars while the 15 treatment scenes were selected from various G, PG, and PG-13 rated movies as well as real-life videos with comparable levels of violence and delivered via YouTube. The instrument required participants to rank different dimensions of attitude based on a 100-point scale. Both the control and treatment instruments were tested for reliability with α = 0.769 for the control and α = 0.958 for the treatment. The theoretical framework for the study was media effects theory. Specifically, the goal of the study was to determine if certain underlying differences between the two (e.g. production value, choreographed fight scenes, etc.) facilitated students' attitudes toward the scenes and furthermore provided students with enough cues to determine whether or not the scenes they were viewing were real or fictitious.