J201 Notes - February 1 The "magic bullet"...

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February 1 The “magic bullet” perspective on media effects Early films 1880s-1890s: experimentation and development Multiple-sensory experience (hearing, seeing, etc.) Major form of entertainment “Nickelodeons” (1900-1915) Cost a nickel Small, size of a store Handful of short films Silent, live musician Replaced by bigger theatres (1915) Social science Applying scientific method to social phenomena (Ex. Darwin and evolution) “Rationalization” (we can be rational about our world and make it better, especially true in industry) Payne Fund Studies (1929-1932) Series of studies to examine the effects of movies on young people o “Ultimate set of studies” o About a dozen of them Funded by the Payne Fund We’ll look at 5 key findings… o #1 : Children learn from movies 50-60$ of what adults learn But also what’s not true! “Children accept the information in movies as correct unless it is flagrantly incorrect” o #2 : More movie consumption poor “deportment” School work Making them stupider o #3 : Attitudes towards groups Interviewed before the movie After viewing, scores went up/down Ex. Birth Of A Nation: feelings towards blacks declines o #4: Children imitate movies in play o #5: Adolescents imitate clothing, romance Summary o Movies can have powerful effects o Studies were actually more sophisticated, but interpretations of the studies emphasized direct, uniform effects o Methodological limitations
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War of the Worlds (1938) Radio From ~1920 In your house! Oct 30, 1938 Orson Welles, age 23 Adaptation of book by H.G. Wells Set up as breaking news bulletin Context Developments of radio (breaking into programs) Hindenburg, 1937 (exploded) Hitler: already annexed o Austria, Sudetenland Cantril studies Hadley Cantril, Princeton psychologist Why were some people terrified by the broadcast, others not? News reports, interviews Discovered 4 responses o 1) Listened to the events described, concluded it was a play Evaluating the claims: listener knew there weren’t three regiments of infantry o 2) Checked other information, concluded it was a play Checking other sources (success): looked in the news paper o 3 ) Checked other information, continued to believe the broadcast Checking other sources (failure): bad choices 2/3 rd of this group went outside, looked out the window Called friends, neighbors, police Most did not check radio or newspaper o 4) Made no attempt to check other information So frightened that they stopped listening or experienced “paralyzed” behavior and could not check another source Effects on perception o Someone thought they could smell the gas o Someone thought they saw a green eerie light “Magic bullet” perspective on media effects “Hypodermic needle” Media are: o Powerful o Direct o Able to incite action One train of thought that can be applied to media and effect the way we view it February 6
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This note was uploaded on 03/14/2012 for the course JOURNALISM 201 taught by Professor Chriswells during the Spring '12 term at Wisconsin.

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J201 Notes - February 1 The "magic bullet"...

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