Media influences on pro and anti
Mediums of communication
Why study media
What is media?
Why the interest in studying media
Because it influences our behaviour in so
many ways and advertisers have always
spent so much time and money to alter
Name some aspects of our lives that are
effected by mass media?
How does media influence us?
The need to fit in i.e. fashion trends
Reality shows e.g. big brother, I’m a celeb, x factor
Unites the world – US election
St Helena…….. 1995 ‘the change’
Island airs good news on TV for children.
Complete the questions as further and
deeper reading, for homework.
What do you think of Professor Charlton’s
No man is an island
Media influences on antisocial
According to Eron (1992), and Huesmann et al. (2003),
there is no doubt that violence on TV has negative
effects on children.
There have been many theories and studies done to test
this claim, Grimes et al (2008). Public opinions
suggest the same time and time again, Cumberbatch
The ‘third person effect’ is also common among many,
even the 10 yr olds who think that they themselves are
immune but others are effected by –ve effects of
media, Andsager and White (2007).
Although to our loss, researchers are only able to
establish links and explain in retrospect Huesmann et
al (1984) 22 year longitudinal study.
Explanations of media influence on
anti social behaviour
observational learning-modelling behaviour after observation e.g. Bobo
- cultural differences, ethnocentric
Lack of research support
Cognitive priming-once you watch something violent it stays in your
memory and it can be recalled in another aggressive situation
Desentisitization- having watched so much violence in media you
become desensitized e.g. if you watch a lot of violence in media you may
become desensitized to it in real life
Belson (1978) – sleeper effect
A very reputable study which controlled 236 variable.
List what some of these could be.
sleeper effect-Hopf et al. (2008)
Mass media can take any child away from any family
Slater et al (2003) looked at ‘sensation seeking’ this
being one major relationship between media and anti
Children and media violence
Long term effects study, Belson (1978).
Evaluation The inconclusive case for media
The nature of the audience
Methodological problems with media
Media influence on
Our consumption of television varies from
around 7 hours to 25 hours per week in the
western world. In this exposure children do get
a fair amount of prosocial messages also.
There are altruistic and sympathetic messages
being televised but they appear in the context
of anti social behaviour overall.
In children’s TV there are 44.2 acts of prosocial
behaviour on average in an hour. Greenberg
et al (1980)
In a study by Howard and Roberts (2002), there
is a strong evidence of parasocial behaviour.
These acts of parasocial behaviour maybe
seen as ‘micro-level prosocial tendencies’,
Penner et al. (2005).
Hodge and Tripp (1986), argue that children
learn important and complex structures of
meaning and develop capacities for thinking
and judgement that are necessary part of
If the expectation of reward is better than the
punishment then the children will observe and
later imitate the behaviour.
In order for the child to imitate the behaviour, the
child needs to have internalized the social
norms and therefore can then associate the
act with the expectation of social
reinforcement, the child is motivated to repeat
these actions in their own life.
Developmental trends in prosocial
It may be difficult for young small children to
recognize the messages portrayed by the TV,
as it is difficult for them to understand abstract
messages. Older children may pick up on
Exposure to prosocial behaviour- children do
learn prosocial acts from TV Hearold (1986),
and Mares (1996).
Problem arises though when the children cannot
generalize from the specific act seen on the
screen to new and different situation…..
Although short lived initially but long term
exposure to filmed models can have a
substantial and enduring increases in
children’s prosocial behaviour.
Developmental trends can be better seen in
adolescents than in smaller children as these
children are egocentric and the older children
may have a better understanding of the
underlying principles of the prosocial
messages, Roker et al. (1998).
Research on media influence on
4 different categories of prosocial behaviour
were added to her analysis, spread over 39
studied, following are the main findings:
1. Children who viewed +ve interactions tended
to act +vely in their own interactions,
relatively, the effect size was moderate
2. For altruism the direct association from
situation to situation allowed the children to
be altruistic, the effect size was small where
the situation required generalization.
3. Where there was a demonstration of self control the
children showed more self control in the own
behaviour in comparison to those who observed
antisocial models. Effect size was moderate for neutral
content and large with anti content,
4. Those children who observed counter stereotyping
demonstrated less evidence of stereotyping in their
5. For children to observe and imitate a behaviour
thereafter it seems that it is crucial that they are shown
a direct contrast with clear justification.
It seems that in small children, girls are more
likely to be affected by the prosocial
messages. Primary school children were more
affected in comparison to the older children.
It can also be concluded that if behaviour is to be
altered, the TV content needs to be subject
specific because as with anti social behaviour,
it can be generalized readily but prosocial
behaviour needs to be situation specific.
The effects of video games and
The research into this field remains highly controversial
Anderson et al (2007) did research the link but the
results were cursory (hasty and not thorough).
Read Gentile et al (2004). Again results are somewhat a
‘stab in the partly lit’.
The viewing of violent media content was measured with
the physical effects (ACC activity and aggression) via
the fMRI and realised that this does have a significant
impact on humans, especially boys.
claims- you must read it to
enjoy it fully. Well done! Cumberbatch
Should they be banned? Well, it seems
that the data gathered is unsubstantiated
therefore it is not possible to conclude
and substantiate a ban on this basis
Can video games be cathartic (the
process of releasing pent up emotion)?
Persuasion, attitude and change
Learn from sheets, 253-255
Book pages 416- 425.
Overview TOPIC 2
The Hovland Yale Model
(Hovland et, al. 1953).
The evaluation: more learning from credible, high status,
charming attractive and same sex source.
Two sided arguments for less intelligent and one sided
argument for more intelligent viewers.
Greater attitude change with higher audience
Elaboration- Likelihood Model
1.Central route-high ability to elaborate.
2.Peripheral route-low ability to elaborate.
Low ability to elaborate produces weaker attitude
to change due to poorly thought out decision
ELM supported by ‘attitude change’ studies, that
vary the quality of arguments and exposure
time to messages.
Influence of attitudes on decision
The role of cognitive consistency/dissonance
The uncomfortable/unpleasant feeling/arousal that you feel when
faced by two conflicting cognitions.
you can reduce dissonance by:
Changing attitudes and behaviour by reducing dissonance
Distracting oneself with unrelated behaviour eg drinking alcohol.
you can increase dissonance by:
Anti smoking campaigns e.g smoking kills in inconsistent
cognitions: ‘I smoke’ and ‘smoking kills’.
Statements like, ‘only you can make the change’ and ‘you can
You can introduce dissonance to increase more positive attitudes.
Even pro-attitudinal behaviours can cause dissonance if it has
unintended –ve consequences
Strongly affected by the individuals self perception.
The effectiveness of television
Psychology and advertising
We need to focus on the ‘effectiveness’ of
adverts in changing our behaviour.
Hard sell:- focus on the product
Soft sell:- focus on the consumer,
Both these have different effcts on
Role Of Self Perception
The role of self perception is an explanation of
attitude change. Those in the position of
affecting decision making and behaviour
(advertisers or governments) try to use
persuasion tactics and to change attitudes
and find that roles of cognitive
consistency/dissonance and self- perception,
are useful features to take into account.
Role of self perception…..
Bern (1965). p. 421.
There are a variety of theories on the role of self perception in
dissonance and attitude change.
Self-inconsistency-inconsistency between one’s thought and
Self-affirmation-people want +ve feedback even when wrong
Self standards- behaviour that breaks our standards
The over-justification effect our way of internally justifying our
Self perception theory, Bern (1965), suggests that people infer
their attitudes from their behaviour so no dissonance occurs,
Impression management theory, Tedeschi et al., (1971)
Attitude change results from the desire to appear consistent.
Explanations of the attraction to
The Mass Media give us the illusion of having a face to
face relationship with the performer. Horton and
‘I love Brad Pitt’
‘I think she is too thin’, statements like these are put out
there as though they can hear us.
The media treat the news of the celebs as real T.V.
news, Ashe and McCutcheon – by design the T.V.
news has come to resemble celebrity gossip.
The media coverage of the celebs has for many,
replaced the ‘legitimate’ news.
A para-social relationship is assumed- a one
sided ‘relationship’ whereby one person knows
a great deal about the other person and feels
intense affection for them, yet the recipient of
the affection may not be aware of that
person’s existence, for example a person
feeling that they have a personal and an
intimate relationship with this person due to
frequent apperances of this person on T.V.
Research on Para-social r’ship
Instigated by McQuail et al. (1972),
commented on our emotional
attachment with the soap opera
They also added as we may base our own
r’ships on what we learn from T.V.
Schiappa et al. (2007) meta analysis:p426.
We do not then see that the celebs
behave like us or imitate life but we see
it that we must imitate the imitated
Para-social r’ships dysfunctional?-Rubin et
al. (1985) cast doubt on the fact that Parasocial r’ships are based on dysfunctional
loneliness, they saw it as Jo Blogg seeing the
celeb as an equal so that they can rely upon
Are para-social relationships real?They are in the sense that they can lead to
attitudinal and behavioural changes.
The ‘Absorption-addiction model’
and body image
Maltby et al. (2005)
Leaving the viewer with the desire for unrealistic
and unattainable body shape.
McCutcheon et al.(2002)
When the viewer has a compromised identity
structure they look to celebs and
psychologically absorb with the celeb in order
to establish an identity.
Evaluation: adolescents are affected.
Evolutionary explanations of the
attraction of celebrity
We prefer creative individuals, neophilia.
More creative potential matesWe look for music art and humour in our mates- Miller (1998). Or
love for the celebs is just an extension our love for these
characteristics, this is why we are drawn to those who display
When these skills are magnified by their repetitive display in our
homes on T.V, our attraction increases.
Our sexual selection is essential for our mental evolution.
We want mental stimulation, we prefer fiction to non-fiction and myth
to scientific reality that’s why we prefer artistic/ innovative and
Evaluation: Darwin agreed with this claiming that this is how the
birds sang their song more effectively and Duck claims that
boring relationships do not last in comparison to creative, and fun
In the times gone by, if we come to know intimate details
about someone we thought them to be a member of
our in- group.
Evolution did not teach us to distinguish between the real
members of our in-group who actually affect our lives
and the images and voices of those with which we are
bombarded day and night in our homes. The intimacy
between these and us provide the same gossip
Evaluation: in support of the para-social hypothesis
media exposure was a strong predictor of interest in
Research into intense fandom.
Taking the interest in the celebs to the extreme.
The entertainment/social - we follow them as a
form of entertainment
Intense personal- intensive and personal
feelings about the celeb- ‘my favourite celeb is
perfect in everyway’
Borderline pathological-This is where you see
uncontrollable behaviour often full of fantasies
about the celebrities.
Very few people are pathological:
5% intense personal
15% entertainment social
The above have suggested to be
dimensions of human personality,
Eyesenck (1991) psychoticism,
neuroticism, and extroversion respectively.
They are not worshippers nor psychotics
but their avid support could be obsessive.
The same can be said for the football fans
where the obsession is not over one
person but a team.
So much so that they will have fan clubs
to meet and support who they like.
Parasocial bereavement is a term used to
describe the grief felt upon the death of a
celebrity- Diana Princess of Wales.
Evaluation of celeb worship
is support by Giles 200 and
McCutheon et al. 2002 for the existence
of the celeb worship.
There is a benefit of having an interest in
the celebs as it serves as a social
There is only one thing worse than being
talked about is not being talked about.
‘a course or conduct involving two or more
events of harassment causing fear, alarm