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A E J M C Morality Methodology ( Mina Tsay)

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Abstract: The study of morality and media has posed several methodological challenges for scholars. This discussion will explain the limitations associated with empirical measures of morality, moral reasoning, and moral disengagement. It will also highlight the compromises necessitated by these challenges when exploring morality’s impact on viewer’s experience with entertainment media.

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A E J M C Morality Methodology ( Mina Tsay)

  1. 1. Methodological Issues <br />in the Study of <br />Morality and Media<br />The Case for Morality and Media: <br />Overviewing, Reviewing, and Previewing our Understanding of Morality in Media Uses and Effects<br />AEJMC 2011 St. Louis<br />Mina Tsay, Ph.D.<br />Assistant Professor<br />Department of Mass Communication, Advertising, and Public Relations<br />College of Communication<br />Boston University<br />
  2. 2. Questions of Interest<br />Does morality impact: <br />Media choices?<br />Response to media content? <br />Characters<br />Narrative<br />Gratifications<br />Our moral codes and values?<br />Does content reflect cultural differences in morality?<br />
  3. 3. Methodological Challenges<br />Conscious vs. unconscious processing/ emotional reactions<br />Moral judgment vs. feeling?<br />Self-reports of moral reasoning, character perceptions, and overall media experience<br />Tapping into social justice, feelings of guilt, rationalization, empathy, enjoyment => all “imply” moral justification or disengagement<br />
  4. 4. Methodological Challenges (cont.)<br />Dichotomy of “good” vs. “evil” is problematic<br />Consideration of morally ambiguous characters<br />
  5. 5. Methodological Challenges (cont.)<br />Moral ambiguity based on:<br />Traits?<br />Behaviors?<br />Anticipated outcome?<br />Character liking?<br />Empathy?<br />Character similarity?<br />Or a combination?<br />
  6. 6. Methodological Challenges (cont.)<br />Morality subcultures<br />Within and across different nationalities<br />Cultural/socialization considerations<br />Morality across media platforms<br />Traditional vs. interactive<br />
  7. 7. Interactive Games<br />
  8. 8. Methodological Challenges (cont.)<br />Moral codes/boundaries<br />Narrative vs. real world<br />If video games enhance “interactivity,” how do we accurately “measure” their true impact on moral codes exhibited in the real world?<br />Behavioral/physiological measures<br />May need to depend on measures outside of affective, perceptual, and cognitive ones<br />
  9. 9. Food for Thought<br />Need to consider:<br />Context (changing media landscape)<br />Triangulation of methods and measures (qualitative and quantitative)<br />

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