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Character Development Within Violent Content

  • By: James D. Ivory
  • In: Encyclopedia of Media Violence
  • Edited by: Matthew S. Eastin
  • Subject:Mass Communication, Aggression & Violence, Violence & Society

Of the many media content dimensions that can influence the intensity of users’ responses, a key factor is the extent to which portrayed characters are developed. Well-developed characters in media can elicit more powerful empathic and emotional responses, encourage media users to identify with characters, and enhance persuasion and imitation. However, underdeveloped characters can also have important effects, as they can encourage generalized, stereotypical judgments and responses in users. More specifically, character development is important to the potential effects of violent media content. The extent to which both perpetrators and victims of media violence are developed as characters may have strong influences on how media users respond to the violent messages they consume. This entry provides some definitions and terms associated with character development, ...

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