Media_Effects - M edia Effects notes Early evidence...

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Media Effects notes Early evidence supporting a belief in maximum effects Empirical research not start until late ‘20s Procedures, strategies, techniques not available until then Framework of sweeping changes in society: Following WWI: migration, urbanization, industrialization and modernization Scholars influenced by Darwin: Humans descended from animals Therefore, like animals, have uniform, instinctive reactions to stimuli This attitude informed early research Magic bullet theory: media have direct, immediate, and powerful effects Assumed messages reached everyone in the same way, with the same effect Could affect changes in thought and attitude in everyone Payne Fund studies, late ‘20s-early ‘30s, 1st large-scale study of effects of major mass medium 13 studies of movies and audiences. E.g., Blumer study – asked kids how they thought movies affected them Concluded movies were source of imitation, unintentional learning, and emotional influence Study lacked validity, reliability . Sample was skewed Still, remains a historical landmark Results frightened public Payne Fund studies confirmed theory, reinforced legacy of fear in general public
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Technical criticisms of studies largely ignored Technically flawed Lacked objective measures Would not be acceptable today Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast panicked millions Seemed to reinforce again the theory of magic bullet Unique opportunity to study behavior triggered by mass comm Hadley Cantril, Princeton, studied 135 people in NJ People low in critical ability tended to accept it without checking facts elsewhere People high in critical ability tended not to believe it, even if tuned in late Education single biggest factor in whether or not people would check other sources Seemed to reinforce legacy of fear, yet raised doubts about magic bullet Beyond the magic bullet: Selective and limited effects would eventually dispel magic bullet theory Studied individual differences People’s needs, values, attitudes, intelligence Played key roles in shaping behavior Also studied social categories Economic levels, racial/ethnic, social institutions (religion, family, government), etc Also big effect on behavior Magic bullet theory gradually replaced as these theories applied to
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Media_Effects - M edia Effects notes Early evidence...

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