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Aggression, influenced by a range of factors including media exposure, remains a significant societal concern. Drawing from Bandura's social cognitive theory, it is important to examine violence in media because its exposure can have a long-term effect on the viewers. Furthermore, studies suggest a correlation between media exposure and aggressive behavior, emphasizing the need for comprehensive analysis of content portrayal. To regulate exposure to offensive content, movies are usually ranked using the MPAA’s rating system. Yet, there has been an observed ratings creep in this system (i.e., the progressive escalation of offensive content in films). The current study hypothesizes that since the standard of the current rating system, PG-13 and R-rated movies have become more violent through time. The study compares 157 randomly selected movie trailers from 1985 to 2023 on six criteria: sexual content, substance abuse, physical violence, verbal profanity, presence of weapons and disturbing imagery and gore. The criteria will be rated v on a scale of one to five. The results show an increase in offensive content over 39 years. There was also a marked difference in the ratings creep observed between R and Pg-13 movies, with R-rated movies being much higher in offensive content. Future studies should consider analyzing full movie content and exploring additional types of violence.


Other Film and Media Studies | Other Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts

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Faculty Mentor of Honors Project

Derek Mangino


Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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