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Gun violence worse in PG-13 films than in R-rated films, study says

November 11, 2013|By Amy Hubbard
  • Mireille Enos and a weapon-toting Brad Pitt in "World War Z."
Mireille Enos and a weapon-toting Brad Pitt in "World War Z." (Jaap Buitendijk / Paramount…)

Gun violence is exploding in PG-13 movies. There's more gun violence in top-grossing PG-13 films than in top-grossing R-rated movies. So say researchers at the Annenberg Public Policy Center and Ohio State University in a study published online Monday in Pediatrics.

That's not supposed to be the case. As researchers point out, the Motion Picture Assn. of America says in its PG-13 rating that violence isn't supposed to reach the level of an R-rated film: "A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category."

This new study says it does reach or even exceed that level of violence.

FULL STORY: Most gun violence per hour

Co-author of the new study Patrick E. Jamieson says in a statement that the PG-13 gun violence study is seen as grim because "children are not restricted from seeing PG-13 movies -- parents are just warned about the content.”

Researchers say that may be the most troubling because of a finding known as the weapons effect. That's the idea that just the presence of a weapon can cause a person to behave more aggressively. One experiment placed a driver in a pickup with -- and then without -- a .303-caliber military rifle mounted in a gun rack in the rear window. The driver purposely stalled at a green traffic light. Researchers found people stuck behind him were more likely to honk when the driver had a gun in the back. The conclusion was that the mere presence of the gun caused people to become more aggressive.

Read more about the culture of violence in entertainment from the Los Angeles Times.

Follow me @AmyTheHub

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