Record #1297

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Carl E. Milliken
Mrs J. E. Reilley, Charlotte Better Films
Reel 5
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Influence of screen


Influence of the screen (12), Sex-hygiene films (5) Show all keywords…


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26 June 1928 Milliken to Mrs. Reilly of Charlotte Better Films, who is wavering a little in her beliefs that they are having any effect: "The fact remains that all of the sixty national organizations represented on the original Public Relations Committee of this association are still cooperating with us."On sex hygiene pictures: "Only if the witnessing of a motion picture should so stimulate sex impulses as to result in an immediate transgression of social conventions could any direct responsibility be attached to a motion picture. The only study of the subject with which we are familiar was made by Dr. Karl S. Lashley and Dr. John B. Watson, the latter perhaps the best known authority on the psychology of behavior in the world. The monograph from which I wish to quote is titled "A Psychological Study of Motion Pictures in Relation to Venereal Disease Campaigns" and was published by the United States Interdepartmental Social Hygiene Board in 1922. In the summary of findings this paragraph appears: "'No lasting effects upon behavior were found. The retention tests show that the main facts were remembered very well for periods up to five months but there is no indication that behavior is modified significantly. The picture does not reduce the exposure rate of men who see it or make them more careful in the use of prophylaxis, except possibly for a few days. Nor did ill effects seem to persist to any greater extent. Interest dies out rapidly and the picture seems to be forgotten as quickly as the average motion picture devised solely for entertainment.In another place we read: "'As used in the existing films the emotional appeals are not effective in modifying sexual behavior, but they are effective in imparting information concerning venereal disease and in arousing people to a realization of the need for educational and moral reform. "That the continued witnessing of screen drama is a factor in building up the moral code or judgment which controls behavior, we had always realized. That is why Mr. Hays has insisted so often that it is the trend in motion pictures rather than the immediate picture that should be the matter of concern to all of us."

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