Goldstein, J. H. et al. (1975). Punitiveness in response to films varying in content: A cross-national field study of aggression. European Journal of Social Psychology, 5 (2), 149-165.

Abstract:  Punitiveness in 866 male movie-goers in London, Philadelphia, Rome, and Toronto was measured before or after they attended films varying in content (aggressive, sexual, neutral) and arousal potential (low, high). Altruism was also assessed for some Ss. Hypotheses stemming from social learning theory and arousal theory were tested by comparing changes in punitiveness at aggressive, nonaggressive arousing, and nonaggressive nonarousing films. At aggressive films there was an increase in punitiveness, whereas a reduction in punitiveness was found at neutral films. Sexual films led to a smaller increase in punitiveness than aggressive films. Findings imply that arousal was a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for increasing punitiveness. There were no significant cross-national differences in response to the films. Two additional findings in the US sample were that urban Ss were more punitive than rural Ss and that the length of urban residency correlated negatively with altruism. (French & German summaries) (37 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)