61 terms

Mass Media-Chapter 13

Theories and Effects of Mass Communication

Terms in this set (...)

Media content has limited impact on audiences because it's only make believe; people know it isn't real (Argument)
1. news is not make believe, we are supposed to take it seriously
2 most film and television dramas are intentionally produced to seem real to views, documentary style
3. much contemporary television is expressly real, reality shows
4. advertising is supposed to tell the truth
5. before they develop the intellectual and critical capacity to know what is not real children confront the world through television
6. to enjoy what we consume we willingly suspend belief
(counter arguments)
Media content has limited impact of audiences because it is only play or just entertainment (argument)
1. news is not play
2. even if media content is only play, play is important to how we develop our knowledge of ourselves and our world
(counter arguments)
If media have any effects at all, they are not the media's fault, media simply hold a mirror to society and reflect the status quo (argument)
1. media hold a very selective mirror (more of a fun house mirror)
(counter argument)
If media have any effect at all, it is only to reinforce preexisting values and beliefs. Family, church. school have more influence
1. traditional socializing agents have lost much of their power to influence in our complicated and face-paced word
2. reinforcement is not the same as having no effects, it can reinforce both good and bad
(counter argument)
If media have any effects at all, they are only on the unimportant things in our lives, such as fads and fashions
1. fads and fashions are important to us
2. if media influence only the unimportant things on our life, why are billions spent trying to sway our opinions on social issues
Micro level
effects of media on individuals (less impact)
macro level
media's wide scale social and cultural impact (more impact)
Mass communication theory is particularly open to evolving ideas because
1. advances in technology or the introduction of new media
2. calls for control or regulation
3. democracy and cultural pluralism and how media can aid in our pursuit of them
mass society theory
the idea that the media are corrupting influences that undermine the social order and that average people are defenseless against their influence
hypodermic needle theory or magic bullet theory
media are a dangerous drug or a killing force that directly and immediately penetrates a person's system
grand theory
one designed to describe and explain all aspects of a given phenomenon
Halloween 1938
media researchers mark this date as the emergence of the limited effects perspective on mass communication
-Orson Welles broadcast H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds and people thought it was occurring (1 million out of 5 million
argued that mere speculation about the impact of media was insufficient to explain the complex interactions that mass communication comprised. Instead, well-designed, sophisticated studies of media and audiences would produce more valuable knowledge.
Limited Effects Theories
view that media influence was limited by individual differences, social categories, and personal relationships.
Two-Step Flow Theory
-example of limited effects theory
-research on the 1940 presidential election indicated that media influence on people's voting behavior was limited by opinion leaders who passed their interpretations onto opinion followers
opinion leaders
people who initially consumed media content on topics of particular interest to them, interpreted it in light of their own values and beliefs and then passed it on to opinion followers
opinion followers
people like opinion leaders who had less frequent contact with the media
Office of War Information
-asked filmmakers such as Capra for audience appeal and looked to social scientists to measure the effectiveness of these new media campaigns
Experimental Section of the army inside its Information and Education Division
staffed with psychologists who were expert in issues of attitude change
-led by Carl Hovland
-tested the effectiveness of the government's mass communication campaigns
-continued work at Yale
-led to attitude change theory
Attitude Change Theory
explains how people's attitudes are formed, shaped, and changed through communication and how those attitudes influence behavior
Dissonance theory
argues that when confronted by new or conflicting information people experience a kind of mental discomfort, as a result we consciously and subconsciously work to limit or reduce that discomfort through three interrelated selective processes
selective processes
help us select what information we consume, remember, and interpret in personally important and idiosyncratic ways
selective exposure (selective attention)
process by which people expose themselves to or attend to only those messages consistent with their preexisting attitudes and beliefs
selective retention
assumes that people remember best and longest those messages that are consistent with their preexisting attitudes and beliefs
selective perception
predicts that people will interpret messages in a manner consistent with their preexisting attitudes and beliefs
The effects of mass communication 1960
written by head of social research for CBS broadcasting, Joseph Klapper
Reinforcement Theory
-developed by Klapper
-idea that if media have any impact at all, it is in the direction of reinforcement
uses and gratifications approach
claimed that media do not do things to people, rather, people do things with media. In other words the influence of media is limited to what people allow it to be
-emphasizes audience members' motives for making specific consumption choices and the consequences of that intentional media use, it is sometimes seen as being too apologetic for the media industries
-"gives the people what they want"
criticisms of uses and gratifications approach
-it is sometimes seen as being too apologetic for the media industries
-assumes not only that people know why they make the media content choices that they do, but also that they can clearly articulate those reasons to uses and gratifications researchers
-approach ignores the fact that much media consumption is unintentional
-approach ignores media's cultural rale in shaping people's media choices and use
agenda setting
a theory that argues that media may not tell us what to think, but media certainly tells us what to think about
-agenda setting power of the media is more than the amount of space and time devoted to a story but also the fact that there is great consistency between media sources across all media in the choice and type of coverage they give an issue or event
-Iyengar and Kinder tested application of agenda setting theory and concluded that Americans' view of society and nation are shaped by the stories that appear on evening news, the position of the story affected the agenda-setting power (lead story has greatest power)
-also noted that vivid video presentations under-cut agenda setting power by focusing on one story or situation and not on the issue
Dependency Theory 1975
developed by DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach
-basis of media's influence resides in the relationship between the larger social system, the media's role in that system, and audience relationships to the media
-degree of our dependence on media and their content is the key variable in understanding when and why media messages alter audience beliefs, feelings, or behavior
-in our modern industrial society we are increasingly dependent on media a. to understand the social world b. to act meaningfully and effectively in society c. to find fantasy and escape or diversion
-our level of dependency is related to a. the number and centrality of the specific information-delivery functions served by a medium and b. the degree of change and conflict present in society
Dependency Theory simplified
argues that especially in our complex and changing society, people become increasingly dependent on media and media content to understand what is going on around them, to learn how to behave meaningfully, and for escape.
Social Cognitive Theory
the idea that people learn through observation (television as well)
-argues that people model behaviors they see and that modeling happens through imitation and identification
direct replication of an observed behavior
form of imitation in which observers do not copy exactly what they have seen but make a more generalized but related response
social cognitive theorists suggest
that imitation and identification are products of
-observational learning
-inhibitory effects
-disinhibitory effects
Observational learning
observers can acquire new behaviors simply by seeing those behaviors performed
inhibitory effects
seeing a model punished for a behavior reduces the likelihood that the observer will perform that behavior
disinhibitory effects
seeing a model rewarded for prohibited or threatening behavior increases the likelihood that the observer will perform that behavior
Critical Cultural Theory
Baran and Davis
-the idea that media operate primarily to justify and support the status quo at the expense of ordinary people
Neo-Marxist Theory
the theory that people are oppressed by those who control the culture, the superstructure, as opposed to the base
religion, politics, art, literature, and mass media
critical cultural theories' characteristics
-tend to be macroscopic in scope (examine broad, culture wide media effects)
-are openly and avowedly political (based on neo-marxism, their orientation is from the political left)
-their goal is at the least to instigate change in government media policies; at the most, to effect wholesale change in media and cultural systems (assume that the super-structiure, which favors those in power, must be altered)
-they investigate and explain how elites use media to maintain their positions of privilege and power (issues such as media ownership, government-media relations, and corporate media representations of labor, are typical topic of study)
meaning-making perspective
the idea that active audience members use media content to create meaning and meaningful experiences for themselves
symbolic interaction
idea that cultural symbols are learned through interaction and then mediate that interaction.
-people give things meaning and that meaning controls their behavior
-flag is an example
Faules and Alexander definition of communication
symbolic behavior which results in various degrees of shared meaning and values between participants
product positioning
the practice in advertising of assigning meaning to a product based on who buys the product rather than on the product itself
-goes along with symbolic interaction
Carey's definition of communication
communication is a symbolic process whereby reality is produced, maintained, repaired, and transformed
Social Construction of reality theory
-Berger and Luckmann
suggests that people who share a culture also share an ongoing correspondence of meaning
things that have objective meaning
-car is symbol of mobility
things that have subjective meaning
-cadillac is sign of wealth
typification schemes
collections of meanings assigned to some phenomenon or situation
-walk into a classroom, know classroom behavior
cultivation analysis
developed by George Gerbner
-says that television cultivates or constructs a reality of the world that, although possibly inaccurate, becomes meaningful to us simply because we believe it to be true
assumptions of cultivation analysis
1. television is essentially and fundamentally different from other mass media
2. television is the center cultural arm of US society
3. the realities cultivated by television are not necessarily specific attitudes and opinions but rather more basic assumptions about the facts of life
4. The major cultural function of television is to stabilize social patterns
5. The observable, measurable, independent contributions of television to the culture are relatively small
moving individual and different people toward a shared, television-created understanding of how things are
simulation model
direct causal relationship between violent content and aggressive behavior has been scientifically demonstrated in lab experiments
aggressive cues model
idea that media portrayals can suggest that certain classes of people are acceptable for real world aggression has also been scientifically demonstrated
the idea that watching violence in the media reduces people's innate aggressive drive was deflated by the social cognitive theory
vicarious reinforcement
the idea that observed reinforcement operates in the same manner as the actual reinforcement
environmental incentives
the notion that real-world incentives can lead observers to ignore the negative vicarious reinforcement they have learned to associate with a given behavior
the application of a standardized image or concept to members of certain groups, usually based on limited information
-older adults, children, and women are underrepresented on comedies and drama on primetime
-white characters and men and middle-aged are overrepresented
-women tend to be overrepresented in younger adulthood
-older adults tend to be portrayed in a more negative fashion than young adults
-latino characters underrepresented
-back characters are "ghettoized"