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Unformatted text preview: Research and Theory in Mass Communication Mass An Overview The 1920s: A Critical Decade for Research in Mass Communication Research Two new media become part of the Two system (movies and radio). system In full use by a mass audience. Cheap, enormously popular. Major forms of family entertainment. The 1920s: A Critical Decade for Research in Mass Communication Research The 1920s were a decade of enormous The social change. social Movies portrayed these social changes. Many feared movies were causing changes in Many society rather than reflecting those changes. society Many believed the media had great power. Early Evidence Supporting a Belief in Maximum Effects in Research begins with the “Magic Bullet” Research theory of media influences. theory Social sciences influenced by physical Social sciences. sciences. Early theory influenced by work of Early Charles Darwin. Charles Influence of learning not yet understood. understood. Early Evidence Supporting a Belief in Maximum Effects in The Payne Fund Studies of movies and The children (1929-32): children Influences on everyday behavior (imitation, Influences unintentional learning and emotional influence). unintentional Seeing movies changed children’s attitudes. Implications of results: confirmation of fears. Scientists question methods used. The Magic Bullet Theory The People in “mass society” lead socially isolated People lives because they are from diverse origins and do not share a unifying set of norms, values and beliefs. and Like all animals, human beings are endowed at Like birth with a uniform set of instincts that guide their ways of responding to the world around them. them. The Magic Bullet Theory The Because people’s actions are not influenced Because by social ties and are guided by uniform instincts, individuals attend to events (such as media messages) in similar ways. as People’s inherited human nature and their People’s isolated social condition leads them to receive and interpret media messages in a uniform way. uniform The Magic Bullet Theory The Therefore, media messages are like Therefore, symbolic “bullets,” striking every eye and ear, and resulting in effects on thought and behavior that are DIRECT, IMMEDIATE, UNIFORM and POWERFUL. POWERFUL. The Panic Resulting from Radio Reports of the Invasion from Mars Reports Reactions to the “news” Reactions of the invasion (1938): of 1. Extent of panic? 1. 2. Why did broadcast cause panic? panic? 3. Why were some frightened and not others? and The Panic Resulting from Radio Reports of the Invasion from Mars Reports “Critical ability” a significant factor in how Critical people responded. people Implications of the results: powerful Implications effects for some people. effects One of first studies to challenge Magic One Bullet Theory. Bullet Beyond the Magic Bullet: Emerging Theories of Media Influence Theories The People’s Choice: Effect of media in a The presidential campaign (1940). presidential How the media influence voters (activation, How reinforcement and conversion). reinforcement 3 factors with greatest predictive value (SES, factors religion, and rural-urban residence). religion, Serendipity: discovering the two-step flow. Implications of results: media have limited Implications effects. effects. The People’s Choice: Results The Social categories led people to be selective to media propaganda and to influences of others. influences Factors with highest predictive value: Factors SES, religion, rural-urban residence. SES, Level of interest important factor: nonvoting deliberate. The People’s Choice: Results The Media influence voting decisions in 3 ways: 1.Activation: Brings individual to conscious Brings decision in line with predispositions (selects media message consistent with own beliefs and values). and 2.Reinforcement: Media provide justification for t: decision. decision. 3.Conversion: Voting decision changed. The Two-Step Flow of Mass Communication Mass The mass media present a constant flow of The information about a great variety of topics, but most people attend only selectively. but Some people, at all levels of society, attend Some more fully than others and become more knowledgeable than others in certain areas of media content. of The Two-Step Flow of The Mass Communication Among those who attend more fully are people Among who become identified by others as opinion leaders – persons like themselves who are especially knowledgeable and trustworthy as sources of information and interpretation about certain areas of media content. certain Such opinion leaders often pass on information Such they obtain from the media to others who have turned to them to obtain information and interpretations. interpretations. The Two-Step Flow of The Mass Communication Therefore: Mass communications often Therefore: move in two stages – from the media to two stages opinion leaders – who attend directly to media presentations about selected topics, and then by word-of-mouth to other people whom they influence by their information and interpretations. information Beyond the Magic Bullet: Emerging Theories of Media Influence Theories The “Why We Fight” film experiments on American soldiers in WWII. American Goals of experiments: increase motivation, factual information and opinion change. opinion Implications of results: selective and limited influences. selective The “Why We Fight” Film Experiments: Results Films did increase factual knowledge of Films events leading to war. events Films did not influence attitudes or Films motivations to fight. motivations Some effects on opinions addressed in films. Level of education and I.Q.: Those with Level higher levels learned more factual information. information. Evidence of “sleeper-effect.” Selective and Limited Influences Theory Theory People in contemporary society are People characterized by great psychological diversity, due to learned individual individual differences in their psychological make-up. differences People are also members of a variety of People social categories (income, religion, age, social categories gender, etc.) that are characterized by subcultures of shared beliefs, attitudes and values. and Selective and Limited Influences Theory Theory People are not isolated but are bound People together in webs of social relationships social relationships based on family, neighborhood ties, work relationships, etc. relationships, People’s individual differences, social People’s category subcultures and patterns of social relationships lead them to be interested in, select, attend to and interpret the content of mass communication in very selective ways. selective Selective and Limited Influences Theory Theory Therefore, because exposure to media Therefore, messages is highly selective and interpretation of content varies due to individual differences, social categories individual and social relationships, any specific mass social any communicated message will have only limited effects on the public as a whole. limited effects on Intensive Focus on Television and Children and Assessing a new medium: Television in the Assessing Lives of Children (1958-1960). Lives Patterns of viewing. Uses of programs: fantasy, Uses diversion, incidental learning. diversion, Implications of results: Implications television poses few dangers. television Final Conclusion Final “For some children, under some conditions, some For some some some television is harmful. For other children under other the same conditions, or for the same children under other conditions, it may be beneficial. For other most children, under most conditions, most most most television is probably neither harmful nor particularly beneficial.” particularly -- Schramm, Lyle, and Parker, 1961. The Issue of Television and Violence: Report to the Surgeon General (1969-1970) (1969-1970) Network television’s violent content Network (frequent and unrealistic). (frequent Social learning from models for behavior. Television and adolescent aggression. Implications of results: television can Implications cause aggression in those predisposed. cause Overall Conclusion Overall “ . . . a preliminary and tentative indication of a causal relation between viewing violence on television and aggressive behavior.” on “ . . . But the causal relation acts only on some children (who are predisposed) and only in some contexts.” only Ten Years of Further Research: Second Report to the Surgeon General Second Health, violence, and aggression. Cognitive and affective aspects of Cognitive behavior. behavior. Social beliefs and social behavior. The bottom line: RESEARCH EVIDENCE The REVEALS ONLY WEAK EFFECTS. REVEALS Long-term Influences on Social Change Social Accumulation Theory: The “adding up” of Accumulation minimal effects. minimal Bringing down a president. Extending democracy to all citizens. Redefining a war. Increasing a nation’s concern about health. The Accumulation of The Minimal Effects The mass media focus attention on a The specific topic (problem, situation, issue). specific The media continue to do so over an The extended period in a relatively consistent consistent and persistent way and their presentations persistent corroborate. corroborate The Accumulation of The Minimal Effects Individual members of the public increasingly Individual become aware of these messages and a growing comprehension develops of the interpretations of the topic presented by the media. media. Increasing comprehension of the messages Increasing results in a change of the meanings, beliefs and attitudes that serve as guides to behavior of the audience regarding that topic. audience The Accumulation of The Minimal Effects Therefore: minor individual-by-individual Therefore: changes accumulate, and new beliefs and accumulate and attitudes emerge to provide significant changes in the norms of appropriate behavior toward the topic. behavior Media Effects Media Weak vs powerful effects Direct vs indirect effects Short-term vs long-term effects ...
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This note was uploaded on 10/19/2011 for the course MC 3018 taught by Professor Jeong during the Spring '08 term at LSU.

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