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Sexual and Violent Media's Inhibition of Advertisement Memory: Effect or Artifact?1


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    Both authors contributed equally to this research; the order of authorship is merely alphabetical. The authors thank Ryan Lewis, Kathryn Jargo, Chris Kauza, and Brier Wilson for their help in data collection.

Carrie Fried, Department of Psychology, Winona State University, Winona, MN 55987-5838. E-mail:


Research (Bushman, 2005; Bushman & Bonacci, 2002) has claimed to demonstrate that sexual and violent content in television programs inhibits viewers' memory for advertisements. However, that research failed to adequately control other aspects of the programs' content, making interpretation problematic. The present paper attempts to correct these flaws. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrate that if other aspects of show content are held constant, sex and violence alone do not affect memory for advertisements. Study 3 provides evidence that while sex or violence does not affect memory, other aspects of program content (e.g., plot, humor) do have a significant influence on advertisement memory. Implications of this research on the interpretation of previous research are discussed.