The Huron University College Journal of Learning and Motivation

Article Title

Murder Stories and Sex: An Examination of Audience Effect


Sarah L. Buck


Audience effect, the impact witnesses have on the behaviour of an individual, is an area about which little is known. It has been proposed by Matlin and Zajonc (1968) that the effect may be impacted by various stimuli, such as size and demeanour of the audience. It has also been suggested, by Athenstaedt, Haas and Schwab (2004), that the sexes behave differently within same-sex versus mixed-sex groupings. The current study attempts to determine whether audience effect may be impacted by the sex of the participant(s) combined with the sex of an audience. An original method was used, whereby participants were taken on a late-night tour of a darkened church, rumoured to be haunted. Participants were divided into four conditions and responses to specific requests were timed. Results were in the predicted direction; however a two-by-two ANOVA demonstrated no significance. Possible limitations to the current study are discussed.

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