Violence and Sex in Television Programs
In ‘Programs Do Not Sell Products in Advertisement,’ Brad J. Bushman provides the primary hypothesis regarding the study. He alleges that televised sex and violence impair the memory for the advertised products. Besides, there is a supplementary hypothesis that functions as the framework of the study. Bushman hypothesizes that incorporating an advertisement in a program that contains sex or violence decreased the viewer’s possibility of remembering the advertised brand. Besides, this would reduce their interest in purchasing the advertised brand and their likelihood of choosing a coupon for that brand (Bushman, 2005).
The hypotheses emanate from a meta-analysis of 16 studies that considered 2474 participants. The assessment illustrated that the memory for advertised brands was 27% lower if ads were embedded in violent programs unlike if the same ads were integrated into non-violent programs. According to Bushman, the most plausible reason for the memory impairment is that viewer exercise a limited amount of attention towards television programs. According to research, people tend to pay more attention to violent media than non-violent ones. Besides, individuals pay more attention to sexual programs than to non-sexual media. The author affirms that the perception from an evolutionary perspective. In this case, he compares the situation to our ancestors who paid more attention to violence and sexual cues (Bushman, 2005). For this reason, they were more likely to acquire the ability to survive and pass on their genes than their counterparts who ignored the same. The allusion means that the more attention viewers pay to violent and sexual programs, the less attention they have available for the commercials integrated into those programs.
The study seeks to test whether televised violence and sex have any influence on the buying intentions and consumer behaviors. Thus, the independent variables of the study were the sex and violence programs as well as nonviolent and nonsexual programs. In contrast, the dependent variables entailed viewers’ buying intention, the likelihood of remembering the advertised brand, their interest in buying the brand and their likelihood of selecting a coupon for that brand. It is worth noting that there were 336 participants aged between 18 and 54 years of both genders (Bushman, 2005).
The researcher identified that the type of TV program had a significant effect on the violence ratings, F (3, 332) = 173.56, p < 0.0001. The notion means that as the researcher hypothesized, violence ratings were higher for violent and violent sexual programs unlike the neutral ones. Beisdes, there the type of TV program also had a significant effect on the sexual arousal rating F (3, 332) = 78.31, p < 0.0001. The latter concurs with the researcher’s hypothesis that sexual arousal ratings were higher for sexual and violent programs than for neutral and violent programs. However, the results illustrated that there were not significant differences among the six neutral programs. The same holds for the six neutral and six violent and sexual programs on any of the result measures. The latter refers to the recall, recognition, buying intentions and coupon choices (Bushman, 2005).
For each type of brand, participants indicated the brand they were most likely to buy. The results indicated that the type of TV program significantly influenced the buying intentions. Furthermore, the type of TV programs significantly affected the brand recall. In this case, the likelihood to remember was 68% higher for participants who saw a program without violence and sex than for those who watched a program with violence or sex. The notion was similar for recognition and coupon choices (Bushman, 2005).
Bushman replicates previous studies in expressing that televised violence and sex impair the memory for advertised products. In my perspective, I support the notion because people give much attention to violence and sexual programs that only a little remains to pay to any embedded ads. This explains why many studies concur with the notion that televised violence increases societal violence.
Bushman, B.J. (2005). Violence and Sex in Television Programs Do Not Sell Products in Advertisements. American Psychological Society. Vol. 16 — No.9. 702-708
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