Not that I would ever want to dissuade someone from reading “Game of Thrones” and its War of the Roses-esque themes of double-crossing and revenge, but a new study links the short-term effects of reading physical and relational aggression in literature.
The study by Sarah Coyne in the British Journal of Social Psychology consisted of two studies examining the effects of reading physical and relational aggression in literature. In both studies, participants read one of two stories (containing physical or relational aggression), and then participated in one of two tasks to measure aggression.
In Study 1, participants who read the physical aggression story were subsequently more physically aggressive than those who read the relational aggression story.
Conversely, in Study 2, participants who read the relational aggression story were subsequently more relationally aggressive than those who read the physical aggression story. Combined, these results show evidence for specific effects of reading aggressive content in literature.