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Spiegelman, Marvin, Carl Terwilliger, and Franklin Fearing. "The Content of Comic Strips: A Study of a Mass Medium of Communication." Journal of Social Psychology 35.(1952): 37–57. 
Added by: joachim (10/20/12, 12:20 AM)   Last edited by: joachim (5/18/13, 3:29 PM)
Resource type: Journal Article
Language: en: English
DOI: 10.1080/00224545.1952.9921829
BibTeX citation key: Spiegelman1952
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Categories: General
Keywords: Comic strip, Communications, Ethnicity, Humor, Mimesis, Statistics
Creators: Fearing, Spiegelman, Terwilliger
Collection: Journal of Social Psychology
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Purpose: To study, by means of content analysis, three major questions regarding Sunday comic strips: (a) To what extent do comic strips depict “reality”? (b) How do comic strips depict ethnic groups? (c) What is the place and significance of animals in the comics? Sample: The sample for the present study consisted of a three-week period of the Sunday comic strips represented by Puck, the Comic Weekly and the metropolitan group of Sunday comic sections. These two syndicates were selected because they comprise practically all the Sunday comic sections sold nationally in the United States. A total of 52 comic strips were analyzed. Procedure: Definitive categories and criteria for judging the comic strips were developed. Reliability indices were calculated for judgments on each of the criteria with reliability coefficients ranging from .78 to 1.00. Four graduate students in social psychology and four nonstudents, all of whom were college graduates, served as judges. Results: (a) There was a slight preponderance of humor strips over adventure strips (58 percent to 42 percent). (b) Comics are “skewed toward reality” in that they have to do more often than not with contemporary urban and rural settings in the United States. (c) The real-irreal dimension is a function of two variables: situation and caricature, which are inversely related—when the situation is “real,” the people in the strips tend to be “irreal” and, conversely, if the situation is remote, the people usually will be “real.” (d) The comics do reflect cultural patterns of acceptance and rejection regarding ethnic groups. (e) Animals appear in 50 percent of the strips and are particularly important in humor.—John Molstad
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