Collins, W. A., & Zimmermann, S. A. (1975). Convergent and divergent social cues. Communication Research, 2 (4), 331-346.

Abstract:  Assessed the impact of consistently negative cues vs mixed negative and positive cues about a televised aggressor’s motives and the consequences to him on children’s subsequent behavior. 2nd and 6th graders viewed 1 of 2 edited versions of an aggressive TV program: convergent, in which scenes relevant to motives and consequences were clearly negative; and divergent, in which the aggressor sometimes seemed negative and sometimes positive. There were also nonaggressive control programs at each age (a total of 156 Ss in experimental and control groups). Some random subgroups were tested on an indication of willingness to hurt or help a (fictitious) other child, while other random subgroups responded to a paper-and-pencil instrument employing both aggressive and nonagressive response alternatives to hypothetical situations. The divergent-condition Ss were significantly more aggressive than convergent-condition Ss. Results are discussed in terms of differences in viewers’ cognitive representations of the observed aggression. (34 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)