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Unformatted text preview: Media Impact
Examining the effects of mass media on individuals and society What is the claim? X CAUSES Y X Y Y is a Function of X X is Independent Y is Dependent Y DEPENDS ON X Scientific Method Verifiability? Falsifiability? Can you test the claim? Can you allow yourself to be proven wrong? Nonfalsifiable Hypotheses The role of Evidence Supportive evidence Doesn't PROVE anything.... Just supports it... or does NOT support it. We are Sloppy SenseMakers Overgeneralization Biased Observation Selfserving biases Selective attention Selective perception Illusory correlations Egocentric, Biased optimisim, ethnocentric Third person effects Premature closure Illogical Reasoning The Result of all of this: We support what we already know We support what we WANT to believe Goal of social scientific research: Bring RIGOR to our observations Challenge our assumptions Be willing to prove ourselves wrong A Brief History of Media Research Turn of the Century 1914 1918 WWI Explosion of newspapers in the early 20th century War mobilization with flyers, posters, and newspaper articles Propaganda: Info spread for purpose of promoting a doctrine Hugely successful on both sides Allies and the Germans... People get interested even more in understanding MASS effects... People get concerned.... Boom in Movie Theater attendance particularly among youth. ALL of these concerns are about the potential INFLUENCE of media i.e.: MEDIA EFFECTS Payne Fund Studies 1929 First large scale quantitative approach to media research Response to societal concern about adverse effects of film on YOUTH Ohio State Univ large team of researchers Multiple Methods Physiological, surveys, attitude scales, interviews Content analysis to measure content of films more on that later. Results of Payne Fund Acquisition of info Ethnic, Racial, Social attitudes altered Emotions stimulated fear effects Sleep patterns disturbed Imitative behavior modeling Children who attended movies regularly were found to behave poorly in school compared to those who attended movies less often. But does this show MOVIES are to blame? More on that later. War of the Worlds: H.G. Wells Broadcast by Orson Welles October 30, 1938, CBS Mercury Theater Broadcast consisted of orchestra music interrupted by news reports of an alien invasion in Grovers Mill, New Jersey Audience of approx. 6 million (1 in 6 panicked) War of the Worlds Broadcast: 1938 Why was this broadcast so frightening? Many tuned in late: missed the disclaimer Trusted as a breaking news source Realism in the broadcast Historical context: War in Europe and bleak Actual locations and experts economic conditions Why were some frightened and others were not? Internal and external checks Religious beliefs Personality factors Education (critical ability) Unusual listening situation Expectations people had as they turned on the program People's Choice 1940 Presidential election Researchers want to understand the effects of campaign materials, radio appeals and newspaper editorials on vote choice Eerie, OH Sophisticated Methods: FDR's third term election against Wendell Wilkie Random Sampling Findings Selective exposure Selective retention Selective perception Reinforcement NOT conversion Role of "Opinion Leaders" Two Step Flow Theory of Communication Suggests NO direct effects of mass media on the public Begins era of Limited Effects... American Soldier Studies Frank Capra famous hollywood director recruited by Gen. George C. Marshall to produce films to train US army recruits (1942) Why We Fight Films Measured soldier knowledge and opinions before and after viewing Finding of American Soldier studies Movies played role as educators (information acquisition), but not influential in convincing soldiers to make the ultimate sacrifice. Why do soldiers fight? Again suggests limited effects. For their friends, comrades in battle with them Media Effects? Powerful or Limited? Turn of century assumed to be powerful By midcentury media are thought to have only limited effects Because of war propaganda, boom in newspapers, and results of Payne Fund about youth and movies Research from the latter portion of the 20th century (1970s to today): People's Choice, American Soldier studies suggest limited effects. People were more interested in how interpersonal communication reduced media's effects (2step flow) Subtle, Complex, Conditional Effects Some media effect some people some of the time. But these effects can still be significant in society. ...
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