1 b media effects


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  • Concerns of North America in 1920s & 30s:New technologies & mass audiences Social consequences of migration, urbanization and industrializationFears about society as relatively defenceless and susceptible to manipulation Fascist uses of media in EuropeBuild up of American war effortOrson Welles’ 1938 Halloween broadcast
  • 1984 is a dystopian view of the power of mass media to control.
  • an atomised,weak and vulnerablemass audience of millionsprepared to receive the messageevery message is a direct and powerful stimulus to actionwhich elicits an immediate response
  • Media messages do not bypass existing attitudes or norms, but over a long term “drip” into us and “help fill in the ground for the figures of our decision making.”
  • Albert Bandura and Richard Walters, Social learning and personality development, 1963Children learn from:Imitation Identification and modelingMotivationModified through inhibition or disinhibitionObservation and practice
  • The background 60sPolitical assassinations: JFK, MLK, RJKCivil rights movementStudent counter cultureAnti-Vietnam protestsEmerging studies on media violence and social aggressionAn anxious society
  • Whereas previous theories focussed on the impact on us by media, U&G focussed on us as active in consumption. We approach media with our own assumptions and needs.
  • 1. The audience has prior social and psychological needs which are brought to the communication experience2. The audience is conceived of as active3. The media compete with other sources of need gratification
  • 1. In understanding media effects, one must studynot just the message being communicatedbut also the uses being made of the message by the audience2. It is assumed that people are sufficiently self-aware to be able to report their interests and motives in using media3. Value judgments on the cultural significance of media need to be based on audience perceptions, not just the researcher's perceptions
  • Play Jesus All About Life campaign. What questions would these theories ask about what we’re watching right now? How would they go about answering them? What do you think of the validity of the answers?
  • Effects theories tackle social problems backwardsMedia are agents of society, not its mastersThe “objective” claim of knowledge hides vested interestsFocusing on media as the source of social problems avoids tackling social rootsCreates a group of social guardians who aren’t affected and want to dictate to othersThe need to isolate variables artificially fragments holistic situations & misrepresents realityEffects theories treat audiences as infantileThe “vulnerable audience” critiqueThe scientific approach emphasizes commonality and downplays differenceEffects theories of media make no attempt to understanding meanings of media
  • 1 b media effects

    1. 1. Media Effects<br />Paul Emerson TeusnerAugust 2011<br />
    2. 2. Effects tradition<br />Asks the question:<br />How do mass media affect us?<br />
    3. 3. Why this question?<br />
    4. 4. Mass media are...<br />communication/messages/information<br />emanating from an individual or organisational source<br />through electronic or mechanical coding giving multiplication of message<br />to a relatively large heterogeneous and anonymous audience<br />with limited and indirect means of feedback<br />
    5. 5. In a mass-mediated society...<br />…we are bombarded by symbolic messages…<br />…derived by others with power…<br />…who are generally inaccessible…<br />…in which individuality is not respected…<br />…over which we have little control through feedback or protest. <br />
    6. 6. Different Effects theories<br />Hypodermic<br />Social learning<br />Psychological theory<br />Uses and gratifications<br />Cultivation analysis<br />
    7. 7. The “hypodermic” or “magic bullet” approach<br />Based on the Shannon & Weaver model<br />The broadcaster injects his message unhindered into the minds of people<br />Laden with many assumptions<br />
    8. 8. Modifications to the theory<br />Intervening variables <br />Opinion leadersExposure, access or attention to the media<br />Differential nature of media<br />Nature and organization of the content<br />Attitudes and psychological disposition of the audience<br />Personal relations of audience members<br />
    9. 9. Wilbur Schramm<br />The dominant influence of media = reinforcement<br />Long-term effects that are hard to measure:<br />
    10. 10. Lab experiments<br />Bobo Doll<br />
    11. 11. Lab experiments<br />Bobo Doll<br />Children who viewed the adult film were more aggressive<br />They used the same type of behaviours as viewed<br />Reward increased aggression<br />More -> more<br />Other experiments<br />
    12. 12. Results?<br />It was believed that these experiments demonstrated a link between media and violence. <br />·       Direct imitation of play aggression<br />·       Vicarious consequences and the acquisition<br />performance distinction<br />·       Studies of disinhibitoryeffects<br />
    13. 13. Reasons for effect?<br />Social learning theory<br />Arousal<br />Aggression becomes primed<br />Desensitization<br />Included measures of justification and consequences<br />Moral threshold<br />The natural - tempered by morals - reduced by viewing<br />
    14. 14. The U.S. Surgeon-General’s Report - 1972<br />Range of issues studied and methodologies used<br />Conclusions<br />None rejected the nil effects<br />No agreement on what effects<br />“TV violence held unharmful to youth”<br />
    15. 15. A crisis in “objective” research<br />Human behaviour is too complex to explain and predict objectively<br />The limitations of empirical methodologies<br />Difficulty in defining “violent media”<br />Policy is not made on the basis of data or even common sense alone<br />
    16. 16. The Uses and Gratifications Approach<br />Media as Instruments<br />
    17. 17. The Uses and Gratifications<br />The social and psychological origins<br />of needs…<br />…which generate expectations…<br />…of the mass media or other sources…<br />…which lead to differential patterns of media exposure…<br />…resulting in need gratifications…<br />…and other consequences, perhaps mostly unintended ones.<br />
    18. 18. Katz, Gurevitch & Haas: "On the Use of Mass Media for Important Things."<br />A. MODE<br />B. CONNECTION<br />3. REFERENT<br /> <br />  <br />1. To Strengthen<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />2. To Weaken<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />3. To acquire<br /> <br /> <br />1.   Cognitive needs(Information, knowledge, understanding)<br />2.   Affective needs(Emotional experience or gratification)<br />3.   Integrative needs(Credibility, confidence, stability/status)<br />4.   Contact<br />5.   Escape<br /> <br />with respect to<br /> <br />1.   Self<br />2.   Family<br />3.   Friends<br />4.   State, society<br />5.   Tradition/culture<br />6.   World<br />7.   Others<br /> <br />
    19. 19. Some interesting findings from U & G research<br />The uses and gratifications derived from the different media differ for different population groups and change over an individual's life span. <br />2. Different media typically serve different needs, although all may be turned to for entertainment and relaxation, and any one may serve all needs to some degree.<br />3. The mass media become more important the greater the "distance" from a referent.<br />4. The medium most readily available at a given period will be most heavily used by those with fewest resources.<br />
    20. 20. Some interesting findings….<br />5. Television as the most accessible medium is very frequently the recourse when there is no involvement in other activities.<br />6. Media aimed at broad audiences tend to appeal to the least positive in outlook. Those more forward looking tend to prefer the more specialised media.<br />7. Taste in part reflects what the medium offers.<br />
    21. 21. Some interesting findings<br />8. The search for more satisfying sources of gratification tends to be characterized by "satisficing" behaviour i.e. seeking and choosing alternatives which are satisfactory rather than optimal and reducing one's expectations to the level achieved.<br />9. Even in media-related needs, personal communication is seen to be more helpful in satisfying needs than mass media.<br />10. The uses of a new medium may be such that established interests and activities are affected.<br />
    22. 22. Reviewing the effects theoretical tradition<br />
    23. 23. What they have in common<br />Focus on communication as process<br />Focus on cause and effect<br />Research process: <br />Isolate variables<br />Manipulate and test<br />Explain<br />Predict & control<br />Test of truth: quantify and measure<br />Research methodologies = quantitative<br />
    24. 24. The attractiveness of effects theories<br />Relatively simple<br />Builds on our tacit understanding that action has consequences<br />Theories for action<br />Simple theory sets mind free for strategy<br />Learn the techniques you can achieve the results<br />Purports to offer “objective” information – apolitical, indifferent<br />Reinforces the knowledge power structures<br />
    25. 25. Criticisms <br />Effects theories tackle social problems backwards<br />The “objective” claim of knowledge hides vested interests<br />Atomistic and fragmenting<br />Treats audiences as dumb<br />Downplays difference<br />Ignores meaning-making<br />