Record #357

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Reel 3
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Influence of screen - psychological research
Also at 02-1965 to 02-1971. Additional text in Transcription.

'Preliminary Report of Psychological Research on Motion Pictures Conducted in Columbia University in 1926." This research has been funded and facilitated by the MPPDA. Examines factors affecting frequency of movie attendance by children; also investigates the question of the proportion of children in average movie audiences, with an eye to censorship considerations. A second study looks at audience preferences in rural Vermont.


Audience research (13), Censorship (112), Children (43) Show all keywords…


Long Description:

Woodworth's preliminary report on Columbia's research, but next to it is a letter -- probably from DeBra to May on his research on attendance, wanting to know whether it's going to be published, and suggesting an angle to it that would make the findings more favorable to the industry in suggesting the average school child attends once a week. May's research: average attendance is somewhat more than once, median is 1.52. No sex differences, but some age difference, and no significant data on intelligence in relation to attendance, although "There is undoubtedly a negative correlation between school grades and movie attendance. Those who attend oftener get the lower grades," but there is no clear causal relationship. Catholic children attend more frequently than Protestants and Jews, and children of the professional classes attend more than children of skilled or unskilled parents -- but the difference is not great. DeBra's letter is seeking to find ways of interpreting May's data as positively as possible -- on the whole taking further the line that May himself pursues, that the data establish no causal relationships -- DeBra seems to want to suggest, naturally enough, that movie attendance once or twice a week is normal, psychologically as well as socially -- he's more interested in that group than in deviant frequent or non-attenders. May at one point indicates that his data may be unreliable since they are answers supplied by the children themselves.

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