Media
Effects
“Violence is one of the most fun things to
watch.”―Quentin Tarantino
Over the past fifty years
various studies have both
proved and disproved the
links between violence in
the media and aggre...
But the same questions keep coming up:
Violent entertainment is as old as entertainment
itself: why do we enjoy watching s...
MORAL PANIC
Areas of Study
Empirical Data
Social Psychology
Neuropsychology
Quantitative Data
Empirical Data
Empirical evidence is a source of knowledge acquired
by means of observation or experimentation.
Empirical ...
Social Psychology

Albert Bandura's Bobo Doll experiments
Social Psychology
The Bobo Doll Experiment was performed in 1961 by
Albert Bandura, to try and add credence to his belief ...
Neuropsychology
Neuropsychology
The fMRI scan shows which areas of the brain are high
activity when looking at certain images, and which a...
Quantitative Data

There is a perception that the number of
violence incidents in the media is steadily
increasing, theref...
Quantitative Data
What Are the
Psychological Effects
of Media Violence?
Direct

Watching a lot of violence via the media may
mean children & adults may demonstrate more
aggressive behaviour them...
De-sensitisation

Exposure to media violence may mean children in
particular become less sensitive to violence, and
less s...
Mean World Syndrome

Watching large amounts of violence on TV may
lead children and adults to believe that the real
world ...
Catharsis

A potentially POSITIVE effect, where exposure to
media violence may result in reduced aggression
in viewers, as...
Effects on Children

Children are considered to be the group most 'at risk'
from media violence, because they do not have ...
Dexter: The Sympathetic
Psychopath
DEXTER

Showtime’s top-rated and award-winning TV show
about a Miami forensic technician leading a
double life as a serial...
DEXTER

Dexter works for the Miami Police Department by
day as a lowly forensic analyst. In both halves
of his personality...
DEXTER

By night, he gives his dark side free rein and
hunts murderers, rapists, pedophiles and any
other violent criminal...
DEXTER

Self-aware, controlled and secretive, Dexter
has no guilt, no regrets. Whereas other
fictional psychopaths struggl...
DEXTER

His modus operandi is simple. He stalks his prey,
captures them, drugs them, then takes them to
a kill room where ...
Dexter Copycat Murder #1: Mark Twitchell

“I'm a huge fan of the Showtime
series Dexter” – Mark Twitchell
Dexter Copycat Murder #1: Mark Twitchell
His plan was to pose as an attractive woman
on the dating website plentyoffish, a...
Dexter Copycat Murder #1: Mark Twitchell

Canadian Mark Twitchell
was convicted of firstdegree murder in 2011.
A lifelong ...
Dexter Copycat Murder #2: Andrew Conley

"I don't know if you've heard of it, but it's called
'Dexter', and it's on Showti...
Dexter Copycat Murder #2: Andrew Conley
On November 28, 2009, seventeen year-old
Andrew Conley turned himself in to police...
Dexter Copycat Murder #2: Andrew Conley

Conley was clearly a
troubled individual with a
history of psychiatric
illness an...
Moral Panics
Media outlets pounced on the stories
especially comments about their favorite
TV show.
Rather than blaming be...
Media Effects

Can you differentiate
between violence on TV and
in the real world?
Media Effects

Adapted from information found on:

http://www.mediaknowall.com/
Communications: Media Effects Theory
Communications: Media Effects Theory
Communications: Media Effects Theory
Communications: Media Effects Theory
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Communications: Media Effects Theory

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A presentation on media effects for a communications theory course presented to journalism students at Zhejiang University of Media and Communications. The presentation includes introductions to the main approaches to analysing media effects and touches on the strengths and weaknesses of those approaches. It concludes with a case study based around the TV show Dexter. The information for the presentation was drawn from the website: http://www.mediaknowall.com/ which has an extensive section on media effects. The images were all stolen from the internet and the overall structure is my own. Thank you to all those who contributed.

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Communications: Media Effects Theory

  1. 1. Media Effects
  2. 2. “Violence is one of the most fun things to watch.”―Quentin Tarantino
  3. 3. Over the past fifty years various studies have both proved and disproved the links between violence in the media and aggression in real life.
  4. 4. But the same questions keep coming up: Violent entertainment is as old as entertainment itself: why do we enjoy watching scenes of pain, suffering and destruction? What effect does watching violence have on our attitudes towards violence? Does it make our behaviour more violent? Should there be rules about how much violence is incorporated into entertainment? Should there be restrictions on the availability of violent entertainment? Who is responsible for the violent content in
  5. 5. MORAL PANIC
  6. 6. Areas of Study Empirical Data Social Psychology Neuropsychology Quantitative Data
  7. 7. Empirical Data Empirical evidence is a source of knowledge acquired by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical evidence is information that justifies a belief in the truth or falsity of an empirical claim. PROBLEMATIC! You would need a comparative group of people who had never seen violence in the media. Impossible to test the impact of just a few images under experimental conditions.
  8. 8. Social Psychology Albert Bandura's Bobo Doll experiments
  9. 9. Social Psychology The Bobo Doll Experiment was performed in 1961 by Albert Bandura, to try and add credence to his belief that all human behavior was learned, through social imitation and copying, rather than inherited through genetic factors. The findings of the Bobo Doll Experiment proved to be a little inconclusive with most of the predictions not being fully proved. There was a follow up experiment, in 1963, which used the same methodology but showed the subjects violence via video; this had a much less defined response than the initial experiment.
  10. 10. Neuropsychology
  11. 11. Neuropsychology The fMRI scan shows which areas of the brain are high activity when looking at certain images, and which are low activity, or dormant. Viewing violent images activates areas of the brain related to threat detection and response (fight or flight). There is evidence to suggest that viewing violent media or playing video games actually inhibits the more logical areas of the brain. Debate still surrounds how long the effects of experiencing violence last, and whether the long term memory storage has a significant influence on future behaviour.
  12. 12. Quantitative Data There is a perception that the number of violence incidents in the media is steadily increasing, therefore quantitative data is still important to researchers.
  13. 13. Quantitative Data
  14. 14. What Are the Psychological Effects of Media Violence?
  15. 15. Direct Watching a lot of violence via the media may mean children & adults may demonstrate more aggressive behaviour themselves, or they may have more approving attitudes towards the use of violence to resolve conflicts
  16. 16. De-sensitisation Exposure to media violence may mean children in particular become less sensitive to violence, and less sensitive to the suffering that violence causes to others. They also have less sensitive views on "acceptable" levels of violence in society - i.e. they are prepared to tolerate more.
  17. 17. Mean World Syndrome Watching large amounts of violence on TV may lead children and adults to believe that the real world contains this amount of pain and violence, and therefore they begin to view their environment as a mean and dangerous place.
  18. 18. Catharsis A potentially POSITIVE effect, where exposure to media violence may result in reduced aggression in viewers, as it's a way of working through aggressive tendencies in a harmless manner.
  19. 19. Effects on Children Children are considered to be the group most 'at risk' from media violence, because they do not have filters in place which differentiate between violence seen via a media channel, and violence in real life. A lot of work has been done on the effects of violence on television on children, as this is the medium they are most exposed to.
  20. 20. Dexter: The Sympathetic Psychopath
  21. 21. DEXTER Showtime’s top-rated and award-winning TV show about a Miami forensic technician leading a double life as a serial killer, ran for eight seasons between 2006 and 2013.
  22. 22. DEXTER Dexter works for the Miami Police Department by day as a lowly forensic analyst. In both halves of his personality he's a hunter, following clues, solving problems, seeking a target.
  23. 23. DEXTER By night, he gives his dark side free rein and hunts murderers, rapists, pedophiles and any other violent criminals he believes have escaped more conventional justice.
  24. 24. DEXTER Self-aware, controlled and secretive, Dexter has no guilt, no regrets. Whereas other fictional psychopaths struggle with their murderous side, Dexter owns his, even giving it a name: Dark Passenger.
  25. 25. DEXTER His modus operandi is simple. He stalks his prey, captures them, drugs them, then takes them to a kill room where he has one final conversation about their past misdeeds (often confronting them with photographs of their victims) before stabbing them in the heart.
  26. 26. Dexter Copycat Murder #1: Mark Twitchell “I'm a huge fan of the Showtime series Dexter” – Mark Twitchell
  27. 27. Dexter Copycat Murder #1: Mark Twitchell His plan was to pose as an attractive woman on the dating website plentyoffish, and lure potential victims to a lock-up garage. Once inside the victim would be faced by a masked Twitchell wielding a taser. After regaining consciousness, the victim would find themselves in a special “kill room”, where they would be quizzed about key items of personal information, before being stabbed in the heart.
  28. 28. Dexter Copycat Murder #1: Mark Twitchell Canadian Mark Twitchell was convicted of firstdegree murder in 2011. A lifelong fanboy, obsessed with pop culture, he fancied himself as a supervillain. Dexter gave Twitchell form
  29. 29. Dexter Copycat Murder #2: Andrew Conley "I don't know if you've heard of it, but it's called 'Dexter', and it's on Showtime. And I feel like him because he's a serial killer of bad people… but I just feel like him." – Andrew Conley
  30. 30. Dexter Copycat Murder #2: Andrew Conley On November 28, 2009, seventeen year-old Andrew Conley turned himself in to police in Rising Sun, Indiana, telling them he had strangled his ten year old brother, Conner, with his bare hands, then disposed of the body in the woods the previous evening. That morning, he contemplated killing his sleeping father with a knife, but didn’t act on his impulse.
  31. 31. Dexter Copycat Murder #2: Andrew Conley Conley was clearly a troubled individual with a history of psychiatric illness and neglect. An admitted self-harmer, he battled depression and had attempted suicide more than once.
  32. 32. Moral Panics Media outlets pounced on the stories especially comments about their favorite TV show. Rather than blaming behavior on a complex set of reasons ranging from genetics to social or psychological causes. It was much easier to point the finger at the violent character they identified with on TV.
  33. 33. Media Effects Can you differentiate between violence on TV and in the real world?
  34. 34. Media Effects Adapted from information found on: http://www.mediaknowall.com/

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