Nathanson, A. I., & Cantor, J. (2000). Reducing the aggression-promoting effect of violent cartoons by increasing children’s fictional involvement with the victim: A study of active mediation. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 44 (1), 125-142.

Abstract:  Examined the effectiveness of active mediation strategies that encourage children to focus on violence victims’ feelings in cartoons. 351 2nd-6th grade students viewed cartoons with or without a prior suggestion to become fictionally involved (FI) and think about victims. Ss completed surveys concerning baseline and postviewing aggressive tendencies, postviewing justifications of violence, perceptions of aggressors and victims, and evaluations of cartoon humor. Results show that FI Ss found cartoons to be less funny, had more positive victim evaluations, and less positive perpetrator and perpetrator violence evaluations than did Ss receiving no suggestion. Male FI Ss were significantly less aggressive postviewing than other males, but female Ss were unaffected by treatment condition. Findings suggest that thinking about the consequences of violence inhibits children’s aggressive responses. It is concluded that increasing children’s fictional involvement with the victim of televised violence has significant impacts on children’s interpretation of cartoons. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)