Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Motion picture ratings fail to distinguish violent content

02.05.2005


What do the family film "The Jungle Book" and the action thriller "True Lies" have in common? Both contain similar amounts of violence despite respective PG and R ratings.



A new study led by researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health shows that parents and filmgoers who use the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings system to gauge movie content receive little meaningful guidance related to violent content.

The study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Published in the May 1 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Pediatrics, the study analyzes violent content in the 100 top-grossing films of 1994, as identified by the Hollywood Reporter. The research team uses an objective analytical model to study the relationship between rating, degree of violent content and industry labels used to explain the rating assignment.

The study finds that while the total average number of violent acts for each rating category increased from PG (14 acts) to PG-13 (20) to R (32), the MPAA ratings fail to predict the frequency of violence in individual films. For example, PG films contained anywhere from a single act of violence to 97 acts of violence; the range for R films was remarkably similar, ranging from one to 110 acts. In addition, the three ratings categories fail to distinguish the amount of violent content for films listing violence as a primary reason for the rating and containing the highest level of explicit violence. Among these films, those with R ratings averaged 62 violent acts, PG-13 averaged 55 and PG averaged 56.

"The movie industry’s rating system and its prose explanations frequently hide more offensive elements behind euphemistic and innocuous terminology. This makes informed parental choice extremely difficult," said one of the study’s authors, Theresa Webb, a researcher in the department of epidemiology and the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center at UCLA’s School of Public Health.

"Objective content descriptions and measures of explicit violence are far better measures of big screen violence than a film’s rating," the study’s lead author, Lucille Jenkins, added. "Parent and other organizations have been calling for meaningful content- rather than age centered ratings for years, and now there is scientific evidence to support that argument."

The MPAA’s Classification and Ratings Administration is the film industry’s self appointed watchdog agency. The stated goal of the Classification and Ratings Administration board is to keep parents informed about objectionable content in movies. A survey of 500 parents in 2000 showed that nearly 70 percent of parents "always" and an additional 15 percent "often" check film ratings in deciding whether to allow a child to view a film. Several studies in recent years found that parents label the board’s ratings as too lenient and most parents would prefer content-based rather than age-based ratings categories.

The UCLA study examined the primary factor of the supplemental content descriptions accompanying the rating of each film in relation to the actual violent content to determine if PG, PG-13 and R represent three distinct categories in regards to violence. The study sample encompassed 98 of the 100 top-grossing films of 1994. A single G and single unrated film were excluded.

To measure the seriousness of violent action, researchers used a three-level scale ranging from pushing and chases without weapons to violent acts executed with deadly force. To rank the explicitness of the violent content, researchers used a four-part scale ranging from violence framed by the narrative but without action, to graphic bodily destruction or damage to a person. These measures enabled researchers to quantify each individual act of violence in each film. Specially trained graduate students from the UCLA Department of Film and Television conducted the analyses.

In contrast, the MPAA does not define its rating system as scientific or objective, but rather as a collective judgment from a group of parents.

In addition to Jenkins and Webb, other members of the research team included A.A. Afifi and Jess Kraus of the UCLA School of Public Health and the Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center at UCLA, and Nick Browne of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television.

Dan Page | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mednet.ucla.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>