Theory and Research in Mass Communication: Contexts and Consequences (Leas Communication (Hardcover)

Thus, viewers are more likely to develop a heightened sense of fear of crime because of the nature of information spread by local news outlets. Their video world is peopled with police officers, judges, and government agents. People with light viewing habits estimates a more realistic 1 percent. They subscribe to statements that warn people to expect the worst. Gerbner's original analysis shows that heavy viewers are much more likely to be afraid of walking alone at night. The reluctance of these individuals has also been seen on a more global scale because heavy viewers in the United States are much more likely to believe they, as a nation, should stay out of world affairs.

There are many people that do not have access to television, but the reach of television is so expansive that it has become the primary channel responsible for shaping what is mainstream in our culture. Gerbner found that ideas and opinions commonly held by heavy viewers as a result of mainstreaming have to do with politics and economics.

According to Griffin, Gerbner's research led to the conclusion that heavy viewers tend to label themselves as middle class citizens who are politically moderate. Gerbner also found people who labeled themselves as either liberal or conservative among those who mainly watched TV occasionally. However, he also found that "cultural indicators noted that their positions on social issues are decidedly conservative.

Resonance occurs when things viewed on television are congruent with the actual lived realities of viewers. Gerbner writes that this provides a double dose of messages that resonate and amplify cultivation. The example they give is of minority groups whose fictional television character is stereotypically more frequently victimized on television, creating an exaggerated perception of violence for individuals who watch more television [20] Griffin sums it up nicely, when he states, "Gerbner claimed that other heavy viewers grow more apprehensive through the process of resonance.

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Resonance seeks to explain why heavy TV viewers often have an amplified vigilance about the world. As either mainstreaming or resonance, cultivation produces first-order or second-order effects. First-order effects refers to the learning of facts, while second-order effects involve "hypotheses about more general issues and assumptions" that people make about their environments. The Mean World Index finds that long-term exposure to television in which violence is frequent cultivates the image of a mean and dangerous world.

Viewers who consumed television at a higher rate believed that greater protection by law enforcement is needed and reported that most people "cannot be trusted" and are "just looking out for themselves". Dramatic violence is the "overt expression or serious threat of physical force as part of the plot.

Miami use murder to frame each episode of their shows, thus underscoring the presence of dramatic and gratuitous violence. Though death is being used as a plot point, it also functions to cultivate a particular image of looming violence. Heavy viewers are individuals who watch at least four hours of television a day, [7] however Nielsen notes that heavy viewers are now defined as those that watch more than 11 hours of television a day. They also rely on television more to cultivate their perceptions of the real world.

Several cognitive mechanisms that explain cultivation effects have been put forth by Shrum ; ; Another mechanism that might explain the cultivation phenomenon is a cognitive-narrative mechanism. Previous research suggests that the realism of television narratives in combination with individual-level "transportability", or the ability to adopt a less critical stance toward a narrative, might facilitate cultivation effects e. The magic bullet theory also known as the hypodermic-syringe model , transmission-belt model , or hypodermic needle model is a linear model of communication.

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This theory talks about "the audiences directly influenced by the mass media" and "the media's power on the audiences". The "magic bullet" theory graphically assumes that the media's message is a bullet fired from the "media gun" into the viewer's "head" Television reality describes the effects television viewing has on heavy viewers.

Cultivation theory research seems to indicate that heavy television viewing can result in the creation of a television reality, which is a set of facts and beliefs based on television content rather than actual facts. While viewers might differ in their demographic characteristics, the amount of television viewing can make a difference in terms of their conceptions of social reality.

According to Gerbner's research, the more time spent 'living' in the world of television, the more likely people are to report perceptions of social reality which can be traced to television's most persistent representations of life and society. Since the s, communication scholars have examined television's contributions to viewers' perceptions of a wide variety of topics and issues.

Cultivation theory

Little effort has been made to investigate the influence of television on perceptions of social reality among adolescents, particularly in the areas of sexism, sex roles, mean world, and television reality. The work of several researchers support the concept of television reality as a consequence of heavy viewing.

According to Wyer and Budesheim's research, television messages or information, even when they are not necessarily considered truthful, can still be used in the process of constructing social judgments. Furthermore, indicted invalid information may still be used in subsequent audience's judgments.

Although Gerbner's research focused on violence on TV this theory can be applied to a variety of different situations. Many other theorists have done studies related to the cultivation theory which incorporated different messages than Gerbner's original intent. This research has been conducted in order to defeat two criticisms of the theory; its breadth and lumping of genres. The results of this study suggest that television viewed during childhood may affect the social reality beliefs a person holds as an adult. The focus of the present study will be childhood exposure to television genres that tend to be violent.

Given that it has been argued and demonstrated that measuring exposure to violent content is a more appropriate method for cultivation analyses than measuring overall television exposure levels. International cultivation analysis attempts to answer the question of whether the medium or the system is the message. Increased diversity and balance within television channels or programs leads viewers to report similar preferences. Furthermore, importing television programs internationally can elicit variable responses depending on the cultural context and the type of television program.

For example, exposure of US television programs to Korean females portrayed a liberal perspective of gender roles and family. However, for the Korean male television viewers, US programs brought out increased hostility and protection of Korean culture. Another study showed that Australian students who watched US television programs especially adventure and crime shows were more likely to view Australia as dangerous; [20] however, they didn't transfer this danger to America, even though they were watching US television programs.

A study conducted by Minnebo and Eggermont in found that heavy television viewers, over the age of 30, in Belgium "were more likely to believe that most young people are substance users. In order to accurately survey and represent findings from cultivation theory research, the duration of television exposure has become a topic for further research. It's stated that "cultivation effect only occurs after long-term, cumulative exposure to stable patterns of content on television. In a study conducted in , participants were asked to list the number of Grey's Anatomy episodes they had viewed in prior and current seasons.

The purpose of the study was to gain a perspective of how viewers see doctors based on impressions from television. Findings from the study showed a positive association with Grey's Anatomy ' s portrayal with real-world doctors' acts of courage. The finding wasn't surprising, as many episodes within Grey's Anatomy often show doctors as courageous, either by employing a detailed view of an operation, or crediting doctors for their empathy in specific patient scenarios.

Gerbner and colleagues argue that cultivation effects span total television viewing, not genre- or program-specific viewing Gerbner et al. A study conducted by Hammermeister, Brock, Winterstein, and Page compares the psychosocial health of viewers that reported no television use, viewers who followed the American Academy of Pediatrics AAP suggested consumption of up to 2 hours of television per day, and viewers with high exposure to television.

They surveyed participants within the United States implemented via survey method. They found that there was more of an impact on the psychosocial health of women who participated in the study and, "revealed that all the psychosocial variables examined in this study contributed significantly to the one function equation with depression, hopelessness, self-esteem, and weight satisfaction being the strongest discriminators" Hammermeister, Brock, Winterstein, Page, Findings also exposed the similarity in psychosocial health data between participants who watched up to 2 hours of television per day and participants who opt out of television consumption all together.

InterTV is a concept forecasting the inevitable melding of television and online media. Described by Shanahan and Morgan as television's "convergence" with computers, they argue that computers will essentially act as an extension of television through the creation of related websites and online news articles covered within the traditional television journalism realm.

Additionally, television programming will also suffer a shift to an online platform in result of streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. According to Shanahan and Morgan, this may not be the worst thing, as it allows advertisers a direct source in which they can gather information regarding viewers. They state that, "within a market filled with individual interests, desires and the channels to serve them, such a data-gathering enterprise would still allow advertisers to assemble mass audiences from the fragmented media systems". In a sense, this would allow viewers some way to control the content they are fed through the online platform.

While advertisers are infringing on viewer information, the correlated result requires them to shift any programming or storyline content to the satisfaction of the viewer. This poses a challenging example in terms of extending the impact of cultivation theory, instead empowering the viewer to cultivate their own television use experience. Kathleen Beullens, Keith Roe, and Jan Van den Bulck conducted research relating to alcohol consumption in music videos. The research revealed that high exposure to music videos develops an unrealistic perception of alcohol consumption.

Musicians in these videos endorse alcohol in their songs and create a false reality about alcohol and its effects. Research conducted by Dmitri Williams draws the comparison of the effects of television to interactive video games. He argues that while the parameters and basic content of the game developed is through the employment of game developers, creators and designers, the role of the "other player" within the game is also essential in the progression of the story within the video game.

Essentially, an interactive game allows players to build relationships with others, and thus is more dynamic and unpredictable as compared to traditional television. Williams attempts to research the question of whether video games are as influential as television from a cultivation theory standpoint. Does it impact our social reality? In the field study, participants were asked to play a MMORPG game, one in which participants interacted with other players in real time.

Crime measures divided into four categories were used to evaluate the correlation between the research hypotheses and cultivation theory. The study proved a strong correlation between the impact of cultivation on participants and the players of the MMORPG game. See also Behm-Morawitz and Ta study below, under " Race and ethnicity ". Sara Baker Netzley conducted research in a similar fashion to Gerbner in the way that homosexuals were depicted on television.

This study found that there was an extremely high level of sexual activity in comparison to the amount of homosexual characters that appeared on television. This has led those who are heavy television consumers to believe that the gay community is extremely sexual.

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Much like the idea of a mean and scary world it gives people a parallel idea of an extremely sexualized gay community. In a study conducted by Jerel Calzo and Monique Ward, they first begin by analyzing recent research conducted on the portrayal of gay and lesbian characters on television.

While growth in the representation of gay and lesbian characters has continued to grow, they found that most television shows frame gay and lesbian characters in a manner that reinforces homosexual stereotypes. Their findings confirmed that media genres played an important role in the attitudes developed regarding homosexuality. They also were surprised by the finding that prior prime-time shows, which are no longer on air, reinforced a larger magnitude of acceptance within the LGBTQ realm. They then suggested that because genre played a large impact in the perception that viewers gained while watching certain television shows, more research should be designated towards, "more genre-driven effects analyses".

Beverly Roskos-Ewoldsen, John Davies and David Roskos-Ewoldsen posit that perceptions of women are integrated in a rather stereotypical fashion compared to portrayals of men on television. They state that, "men are characters in TV shows at about a 2 to 1 ratio to women Gerbner et al. Viewers who consume more television usually also have more sexist views of women Gerbner et al. Recent stories about reporters being asked to clear quotes and even whole stories with officials before they can be used in a story drew sharp criticism from other journalists and the public, and some media outlets put an end to that practice.

In terms of the attack-dog role, the twenty-four-hour news cycle and constant reporting on public figures has created the kind of atmosphere where reporters may be waiting to pounce on a mistake or error in order to get the scoop and be able to produce a tantalizing story.

Additionally, they claim that attack-dog reporting makes it more difficult for public officials to do their jobs Coronel, Theories of mass communication have changed dramatically since the early s, largely as a result of quickly changing technology and more sophisticated academic theories and research methods. A quick overview of the state of the media in the early s and in the early s provides some context for how views of the media changed. For example, businesses and advertisers saw media as a good way to make money, and the educator class saw the media as a way to inform citizens who could then be more active in a democratic society.

As World War I and the Depression came around, many saw the media as a way to unite the country in times of hardship. Early scholarship on mass media focused on proving these views through observational and anecdotal evidence rather than scientific inquiry. Fast forward one hundred years and newspapers are downsizing, consolidating to survive, or closing all together; radio is struggling to stay alive in the digital age; and magazine circulation is decreasing and becoming increasingly more focused on microaudiences.

The extremes at each end of the twentieth century clearly show that the optimistic view of the media changed dramatically. An overview of some of the key theories can help us better understand this change. In the s, early theories of mass communication were objective, and social-scientific reactions to the largely anecdotal theories that emerged soon after mass media quickly expanded.

These scholars believed that media messages had strong effects that were knowable and predictable. To test the theories, researchers wanted to find out how different messages influenced or changed the behavior of the receiver. This led to the development of numerous theories related to media effects. Media businesses were invested in this early strand of research, because data that proved that messages directly affect viewers could be used to persuade businesses to send their messages through the media channel in order to directly influence potential customers.

Through experiments and surveys, researchers hoped to map the patterns within the human brain so they could connect certain stimuli to certain behaviors. For example, researchers might try to prove that a message announcing that a product is on sale at a reduced price will lead people to buy a product they may not otherwise want or need.

As more research was conducted, scholars began to find flaws within this thinking. Instead, these new theories claimed that meaning could be partially transferred, that patterns may become less predictable as people are exposed to a particular stimulus more often, and that interference at any point in the transmission could change the reaction.

15.2 Functions and Theories of Mass Communication

These newer theories incorporated more contextual factors into the view of communication, acknowledging that both sender and receiver interpret messages based on their previous experience. Scholars realized that additional variables such as psychological characteristics and social environment had to be included in the study of mass communication.

This approach connects to the interaction model of communication. In order to account for perspective and experience, mass media researchers connected to recently developed theories in perception that emerged from psychology. The concept of the gatekeeper emerged, since, for the first time, the sender of the message the person or people behind the media was the focus of research and not just the receiver.

Introduction to Mass Communication (CH-05)

The concepts of perceptual bias and filtering also became important, as they explained why some people interpreted or ignored messages while others did not. The next major turn in mass communication theory occurred only a few years after many scholars had concluded that media had no or only minimal effects McQuail, In the s, theories once again positioned media effects as powerful and influential based on additional influences from social psychology.

From sociology, mass media researchers began to study the powerful socializing role that the media plays but also acknowledged that audience members take active roles in interpreting media messages. Researchers also focused more on long-term effects and how media messages create opinion climates, structures of belief, and cultural patterns. In the late s and into the s, a view of media effects as negotiated emerged, which accounts for the sometimes strong and sometimes weak influences of the media.

This view sees the media as being most influential in constructing meanings through multiple platforms and representations. Although these messages are diverse and no one person is exposed to all the same messages, the messages are still constructed in some predictable and patterned ways that create a shared social reality. Whether or not the media intends to do this or whether or not we acknowledge that how we think about technology or any other social construct is formed through our exposure to these messages is not especially relevant.

Many mass communication scholars now seek to describe, understand, or critique media practices rather than prove or disprove a specific media effect. More recent media effects theories acknowledge that media messages do affect the receivers but that receivers also have some agency to reject or reinterpret the message. Additionally, mass communication scholars are interested in studying how we, as audience members, still have agency in how these constructions affect our reality, in that we may reject, renegotiate, or reinterpret a given message based on our own experiences.

Functions of Mass Media

The margin of heavy viewers over light viewers giving the "television answers" within and across groups is the "cultivation differential" indicating conceptions about social reality that viewing tends to cultivate. This new committee funded a number of studies on the effects of television: This survey also showed a significant correlation between fears of crime and violence and the number of times the respondents viewed television per week. He argues that since a high percentage of television programs include violent or crime-related content, viewers who spend a lot of time watching television are inevitably exposed to high levels of crime and violence portrayed. Cultivation theory can be applicable to many different aspects of society. When using the Cultural Indicators strategy, Gerbner separated his research into three parts.

Given the shift of focus to negotiated meaning and context, this view of mass communication is more in keeping with the transactional model of communication. Media effects are the intended or unintended consequences of what the mass media does McQuail, Many of the key theories in mass communication rest on the assumption that the media has effects on audience members.

The degree and type of effect varies depending on the theory. In general, we underestimate the effect that the media has on us, as we tend to think that media messages affect others more than us. This is actually so common that there is a concept for it! The third-party effect is the phenomenon just described of people thinking they are more immune to media influence than others. If this were true, though, would advertisers and public relations professionals spend billions of dollars a year carefully crafting messages aimed at influencing viewers? There are certain media effects that are fairly obvious and most of us would agree are common even for ourselves.

For example, we change our clothes and our plans because we watch the forecast on the Weather Channel, look up information about a band and sample their music after we see them perform on a television show, or stop eating melons after we hear about a salmonella outbreak.

Cultivation theory - Wikipedia

For example, media may influence our personal sense of style, views on sex, perceptions of other races, or values just as our own free will, parents, or friends do. It is difficult, however, to determine in any specific case how much influence the media has on a belief or behavior in proportion to other factors that influence us. Media messages may also affect viewers in ways not intended by the creators of the message. Two media effects that are often discussed are reciprocal and boomerang effects McQuail, The reciprocal effect points to the interactive relationship between the media and the subject being covered.

When a person or event gets media attention, it influences the way the person acts or the way the event functions. Media coverage often increases self-consciousness, which affects our actions. For example, the Occupy Movement that began on Wall Street in New York City gained some attention from alternative media and people using micromedia platforms like independent bloggers. Once the movement started getting mainstream press attention, the coverage affected the movement.

As news of the Occupy movement in New York spread, people in other cities and towns across the country started to form their own protest groups. In this case, media attention caused a movement to spread that may have otherwise remained localized. The boomerang effect refers to media-induced change that is counter to the desired change. In the world of twenty-four-hour news and constant streams of user-generated material, the effects of gaffes, blunders, or plain old poor decisions are much more difficult to control or contain.

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