Krcmar, M., Cooke, M.C. (2001). Children’s moral reasoning and their perception of television violence. Journal of Communication, 51 (2), 300-316.

Abstract:  Examines how children’s interpretations of TV violence are influenced by their age, or presumed moral developmental stage, and how these interpretations may mediate the effect of TV violence on their willingness to use aggression. 184 4-7 vs 8-11 yr olds were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 viewing conditions in which they watched a violent video clip. The clips depicted identical violent acts with manipulation of punishment and provocation of the violence. Following the video clip, children were asked to judge whether the act was right or wrong and why. They then participated in a test of their willingness to choose aggression as a solution to a hypothetical interpersonal conflict. As predicted, younger children thought that unpunished violence was more right than punished violence. Older children were somewhat more likely to perceive an act of violence as justified if the act was provoked rather than unprovoked. Children’s willingness to choose a violent story ending to a hypothetical conflict was related to their experimental condition for older children but not for younger children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)