Commentary Effects - 1
The effects of sport commentary on viewer attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions through
Very few studies involving sport commentary have examined attitude formation or
perceptual shifts. The purpose of this study is to examine the mediating effect that commentary
plays in shaping viewer attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions through violence justification in the
sport of football. Specifically, this study develops a set of video clips to assess attitudes, beliefs,
and perceptions that result from varying levels of violence justification.
conditions (justified, unjustified, and neutral) were created and dubbed over an existing video
clip from a recent college football game.
Based upon existing research and a theoretical foundation, this study examined whether
commentary would have an effect on tolerant vs. intolerant attitudes, pro-violence vs. anti-
violence beliefs, perceptions of hostility and aggression, and enjoyment.
comparing the justified and unjustified conditions followed several of the hypothesized trends.
This study is intended to provide valuable insight regarding the effects of violence justification
on brand image and product perception.
Television offers viewers various opportunities for exposure to massive amounts of
violent content (Bushman & Anderson, 2001; Wilson et.al, 2002).
This is a concern because
television is thought to make a significant contribution to the viewer’s sense of reality (Gerbner,
Gross, Morgan, & Signorielli, 1980).
This concern reaches into all realms of television content,
Sports are inherently competitive activities where violence is often involved
(Dunning, 1983; Gunter, 2006). Sports programming, like all other television programming,
contain framed media messages.
According to Young and Smith (1988), these media messages
function as a legitimizing force behind the actions and behaviors of those who commit violence.
In the realm of sports, these media messages are both blatant and pervasive (Young & Smith,
The majority of previous studies surrounding media violence have dealt almost
exclusively with the affects that violence has on viewer aggression along with how violence
affects viewer enjoyment, with limited attention being paid to other serious and interesting
effects (Sparks, 2009) such as attitude formation and perceptual shifts.
There have been calls for
further investigation in this area, considering that television often portrays large amounts of
violence in a positive light, where the actions are justified, rewarded, and perpetrated by
attractive heroes (Bushman & Huesmann, 2001).
Recent studies by Signorielli (2003) and
Smith, Nathanson, & Wilson (2002) have shown that one-third of violent incidents on television
are portrayed as morally justified.
Likewise, violence is often framed as morally justified
through media portrayals of sport.
However, the effects of this violence justification on the