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Theoretical Background It seems almost inevitable that children witness sports violence on television not only because competitive contact sports like soccer and hockey are extensively broadcast but also because these broadcasts receive high ratings among children Especially during highly broadcasted World Championships when the ratings are high Young viewers may at least partly derive their values of what is and what is not appropriate Thesis Research Question How television commentary affects judgment on a sports match The first hypothesis of this study is based on Banduras theory and the aforementioned research showing that a childrens perception of televised violence is influenced by commentary from adults and b adults perceptions and enjoyment of sports contests is affected by sports commentators Hypothesis People are most critical of a players behavior if the commentator disapproves the behavior less critical if the behavior is neutrally described and least critical if the behavior receives approving commentary Hypothesis 2 Peoples sensitivity to commentary effects does not depend on their viewing experience Technique Involved in the Study The stimulus material consists of nine 1minute videotaped excerpts from professional sports matches Each excerpt shows a similar aggressive foul In all cases a player of one team the offender brought down a player of the other team the victim and in all cases the official punished the foul The excerpts started with a small part of the match preceding the foul For each excerpt three types of commentary were recorded neutral disapproving and approving In the neutral version the commentator described the events while withholding all value judgment concerning the players In the disapproving version the commentator criticized the aggressive behavior and applauded that the official punished it In the approving version the commentator questioned the aggressiveness of the behavior and whether the call on the play was justified Both the original commentary and the noises of the stadium were removed from the excerpts
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