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Chapter 18

Professor Linda Bender

m m  mm

 m   mm

u Two methods are used to gather information

about media effects:
{ Survey
Panel study ² collects data from multiple points from
same group
{ Experiment
Field experiment

u 3 topics that generate the most media research
{ The role of media in socialization
What is socialization?
{ Cultivation
{ The impact of TV advertising on children
Placement of product in grocery stores
{ Agenda setting
{ Media exposure and cognitive skills
u Agencies of socialization
u Media as primary source of information
{ What information does children get from TV
{ Beavis and Butthead vs. Barney vs. Baywatch
{ Music (Rock)
20% students listed as main
source of moral values
23% source for interpersonal
The Daily Show as main
source of news
m m 
u TV will be an influential force when the following
factors are operative:
{ The same ideas, people, or behaviors recur consistently
from program to program; that is, they are presented in a
stereotyped manner.
{ A child is heavily exposed to TV content.
{ A child has limited interaction with parents and other
socializing agents and lacks an alternative set of beliefs to
serve as a standard against which to assess media


u Concentrates on the long-term effects of

u Methodology
{ Study
content and identify predominant themes
and messages
2/3 to 3/4 of leading characters are males
60-80% of all programs contain at least one incidence of violence
{ Examinewhat (if anything) the viewers absorb from
heavy exposure

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u Most findings show that TV distorts peoples perceptions of the
real world
{ Heavy TV watchers see the world as more violent and are more fearful
u Watching of TV (and especially pornography) can affect a
male·s perception of gender roles
u Validity of studies hampered by
{ Cause and effect (confounding factors)
{ Mainstreaming (overrides cultural and social factors) and resonance
(real-life connections with TV)
{ Technical (wording) questions
u Fiji (anthropological study) female & self-perception
{ Got TV in 1993 (ER, Seinfeld, Melrose Place) increase of bulimia, ¾ of
female teenagers unhappy with body image
u Cereal·s advertised by cartoon characters
{ By high school graduation 330,000 TV commercials seen
{ About 20,000 a year for toys, cereals, candies, and fast-food restaurants
u TV advertisers should give special consideration to children
{ Children are a vulnerable audience and should not be exploited by TV
{ Children, especially younger children, might be deceived by TV
techniques that make products appear more desirable then they really
{ Long-term effects of exposure to TV ads might have a negative effect on
a child·s socialization as a future consumer
u Vulnerability of the audience
{ Children 3-8 can tell the difference between ad and TV program, little
idea of purpose of ad
{ Children 9-12, identify and understand purpose
{ Now use ´We will return after the messagesµ or ´We now return to..µ
Children under 3 do not understand, older children start to
u Effects of special selling techniques
{ Children do not understand that getting the toy does not equate to the
experience presented
u Consumer socialization
{ One study showed that only 7% less 3th graders believed commercials
{ Amount of commercials seen does not make people better consumers

u Agenda-setting effect is the ability to move

something to the top of the list of things to be
{ Studies done on political campaigns
Clearly stated and has clear beginning and end points
{ Voterstend to agree with agenda importance that is
shown in media
{ Media may help set the agenda, Do you agree?

{ Framing, and agenda building

u Study by üournalism and Mass Communication
Quarterly (2004) on blogging showed:
{ Data gathered on 3,700 blog readers
93% white
76% male
93% at least some college
2/3 reported as conservative
74% rate blogs as moderately or very credible versus
 46% newspapers
 44% for newsmagazines
 33% for cable news networks
 13% for broadcast TV networks
Only 40% thought blogs were fair
m   m 
u Mass media has always been used by politicians to
get their messages across
u Since 1940s people have been labeled ´opinion
u 1961 & 1964 senate subcommittee hearings showed
that a large media diet had ´an adverse effect on
human character and attitudesµ
u 1970 topic revisited when surgeon General linked
exposure to TV violence with antisocial behavior
u Again in 1980, 1990s, 1996 V-chip
u Survey results
u Compares what they watch with
their self-report of
aggressive tendencies
u ´Conclude that the evidence to date
indicates that there is a
significant correlation between
the viewing of violent television
programs and aggressive behavior in day-to-day life.µ
u In 1986 international study done in US, Finland, Australia, Israel, and
{ US & Poland TV correlated with later violence
{ Finland ² only for boys not girls
{ Israel ² only in urban not rural areas
{ Australia ² no correlation

u Catharsis theory
{ Goes as far back as Aristotle
{ Viewing scenes of aggression can actually purge
the viewers own aggressive feelings
Seeing violence makes one less likely to be violent
u Stimulation theory
{ Seeingviolence stimulates the person·s violent
u Most experiments prove stimulation theory

u Bandura·s Experiement ² Bobo doll, children

even more violent then scenes viewed
u Complicating factors ² test films are
´concentratedµ violence/sex, home life factors
may play part, including reactions from others
u Field experiments ² more typical environment,
more natural reactions ² US / Canadian TV ²
children exposed to US TV more violent
u Prosocial behavior ² sharing, cooperating,
developing self-control, and helping
{ Sesame Street
u Surveys ² children who watched Sesame Street
were able to identify prosocial content, but
several studies show little correlation between
the viewing of prosocial viewing and behavior
u Political behavior (mainly voting)
u Studies of voter turnout
{ Increased from 1924 to 1960, since then declined
Maybe negative political ads have had an impact
u Effects of the mass media on voter choice
{ Media, along with social and psychological
Media does not lead to conversion (party change)
Does effect reinforcement ² strengthening support
Does effect crystallization ² sharpening and elaboration of vaguely
held attitudes or predispositions
 More splitting occurring (one party for federal level, another at state)
u Effects of televised debates
{ 1960 Kennedy/Nixon (1st) TV debate
Sweat cost an election
{ 1984 and 1988 debates played a role but not in 1996 or 2000
{ 2004 Kerry perceived as ´winningµ debate but Bush won election
u Television & political behavior of politicians
{ TV·s adoption means:
Nominating convention are now planned with TV in mind.
They are designed not so much to select a candidate as
to make a favorable impression on public opinion
mm m 
u Two major trends:
{ Impact of Internet use on other media
Has most impact on TV (both tend to be used at night)
{ Relationship between Internet use and social
Internet users tend to report loneliness and social
More recent surveys show more social interaction
 What do you find to be true for you?
 In what ways is the first statement true?

 In what ways is the second statement true?


u Privacy: threats, computers track all expenditures
{ What do you use your ATM/credit cards for?
{ Electronic government support ATM cards
{ Electronic financial aid cards
u Fragmentation and isolation
{ More specialized markets all the time (for all media)
{ Cocoon effect (sociologists) where people only surround themselves with
political and social information they find comforting, appealing, or
{ Telecommuting leads to even less interaction
u Escape ² ´What exactly is real life anyways?µ
{ People have cyber vacations, sex and relationships.