Kirsh, S.J., & Olczak, P.V. (2000). Violent comic books and perceptions of ambiguous provocation situations. Media Psychology , 2 (1), 47-62.

Abstract:  Investigated the effects of reading very violent vs mildly violent comic books on the interpretation of ambiguous provocation situations, independent of trait hostility. 119 introductory psychology Ss read either a violent comic book, Curse of the Spawn, or a mildly violent comic book, Archie & Friends. After reading the comic books, Ss read 6 short stories in which a child caused a negative event to happen to another child, but the intent of the peer causing this negative event was ambiguous. After each story, participants were asked a series of questions about the harmdoer’s intent, potential retaliation toward the harmdoer and about the harmdoer’s emotional state. Responses were coded in terms of amount of negative and violent content. Results indicate that those male Ss reading the violent comic books responded more negatively on the ambiguous provocation story questions than male Ss reading the mildly violent comic books. For females, responding was primarily governed by trait hostility. These data suggest that hostile attributional bias may be influenced by gender trait hostility, and exposure to violent media. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)