About sequences of violence overviews

Sequences of violence are coded as part of a research project that looks at how violence is depicted in popular culture, and seeks to understand what makes violence attractive in movies and TV shows.

The overviews are about movie sequences rather than events in the narrative. They tell, for example, how many scenes in the movies show people or other creatures being killed. A sequence can include multiple acts of violence, but it is counted as one single sequence.

Sequences of violence are coded even if the violent act is not directly shown in the scene, but we come to know indirectly that the violence has been committed. For example, we might see a dead body, or hear screaming and sounds suggesting that violence is happening, or have a survivor or a witness describing what happened.

Non-lethal violence sequences may include any violent act, from a punch to bigger scale attacks or fights. Verbal threats and verbal violence are coded separately only if they do not happen in the context of a violent fight. A violent fight often includes verbal violence, but in such a case the event will be coded as non-lethal violence.

The research takes into account many more details about sequences of violence, for example their motive, the gender and ethnicity of the victim and perpetrator, and whether perpetrators and victims are villains or heroes – or in between. Moreover, the project looks at the meaning of those acts in the narrative, and the emotional response they generate.

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