Chapter 14Media Effects and Cultural Approaches to Research
Should Life Imitate Culture? “Since the emergence of popular music, movies, television, and video games as influential mass media, the relationshipbetween make-believe stories and real-life imitation has drawn a great deal of attention.”
Media Effects Research• Attempts to understand, explain, and predict the effects of mass media on individuals and society• Cultural studies focuses on how people make meaning, comprehend reality, articulate values, and arrange experiences through cultural symbols.
Early Media Research Methods• Propaganda analysis• Public opinion research• Social psychology• Marketing research
Research on Media Effects• Hypodermic-needle model aka magic bullet theory • Media shoots effects directly into unsuspecting victims. 1938/40
Research on Media Effects• Minimal-effects model • Rise of empirical research techniques • Selective exposure leads to reinforcement of existing beliefs.
Research on Media Effects• Uses and gratifications model • Contests notion of audience passivity • Why do people use media?
Conducting Media Effects Research1. identifying the research problem2. reviewing existing research and theories related to the problem3. developing working hypotheses or predictions about what the study might find4. determining an appropriate method or research design5. collecting information or relevant data6. analyzing results to see if the hypotheses have been verified7. interpreting the implications of the study to determine whether they explain or predict the problem
Conducting Media Effects Research• The Scientific Method - steps • Must be worded so that they are testable• Experimental design • Tests whether hypothesis is true• Survey research • Collecting and measuring data• Content analysis • Studies the messages of print and visual media
Contemporary Media Effects Theories• Social learning theory • Attention • Retention • Motor reproduction • Motivation Bobo Doll - Sock him in the nose, throw him in the air, Pow
Contemporary Media Effects Theories• Agenda-setting • Media set the agenda for major topics of discussion, neglecting other important topics.
Contemporary Media Effects Theories• Cultivation effect • Heavy viewing of television leads individuals to perceive reality in ways consistent with portrayals on television.
Contemporary Media Effects Theories• Spiral of silence • Those who believe their views are in the minority will keep their views to themselves for fear of social isolation.
Cultural Approaches to Media Research• Cultural Studies • Challenged mainstream media effects theory • Attempted to make everyday culture the centerpiece of media studies• Textual analysis • Close reading and interpretation of cultural messages• Audience studies • Subject being researched is the audience for the text• Political economy studies • Examines interconnections among economic interests, political power, and how that power is used
Cultural Studies’ Theoretical Perspectives• The public sphere • A space for critical public debate • Advanced by German philosopher Jürgen Habermas • Society in England and France in late seventeenth century and eighteenth century created spaces (coffeehouses, pubs) for public discourse.
Media Research and Democracy• Academics in media studies charged with increased specialization, use of jargon, have little practical application• Public intellectuals based on campuses must work to help carry on the conversations of society and culture, serving as models for how to participate in public life.