Media effects And research, too
Four main research branches Propaganda Analysis Marketing Research Public Opinion Research Social Psychology Studies
Propaganda analysis • The purpose of propaganda is to influence its audience. • Propaganda often presents half-truths or manipulates messages to produce an emotional rather than a rational response.
Propaganda analysis • Grew out of the desire to measure the effectiveness of World War I propaganda
Marketing research • Studies the flow of goods or services from producers to consumers • Analyzes people’s buying and media habits
Public opinion research • Most common method: • Polling • Can provide insight as to how opinions differ across demographic groups • Gallup Poll - 1935
Social Psychology • Most common method: • Experiment • Payne Fund studies (1929-32) looked at effects of movies on teens and children
Research methods Content Analysis Experiments Polls or Surveys
Content Analysis • systematic, quantitative coding of media content • doesn’t measure effects or reasons • often used in studying media violence, political coverage, demographics of media characters
experiments • Control group and experimental group • One variable is manipulated • Can show cause and effect • Results can’t be generalized
Polls and surveys • Can show correlation • Cannot prove causation • Results can be generalized • Many people: • misinterpret results • don’t know how to tell whether poll is reliable • Pseudo-polls
Powerful effects theory • Assumption: • Media have an immediate direct influence • Media are very powerful • Inject information, ideas, and propaganda into public consciousness
Hypodermic needle (Magic bullet) model • Every media message has a strong and immediate effect. • Every audience member is affected in the same way. • Describes powerful effects theory
Bullet Model • Discrediting factors: • Individuals read, hear, and see the same things differently • People are exposed to many different media all the time
What about “War of the Worlds”? • Hadley Cantril found many who believed the story had certain traits in common.
Third-person effect model • a person exposed to persuasive communication in the mass media sees it as having a greater effect on others than on himself or herself • Fears about the negative impact are often unwarranted • Blocking negative messages is often unwarranted
Minimalist effects theory • Assumption: • The media affect us in limited ways
Two-step flow model • Media effects can be indirect. • People are affected by media and then affect others who see them as opinion leaders. • Theory was renamed “multistep-flow” when researchers saw that the process could be more complex.
Multi-step flow model • Media affects individuals through complex interpersonal connections • Status Conferral • Media attention enhances attention given to people, subjects, and issues
Agenda-setting model • The media don’t tell us what to think • They tell us what to think about
Agenda-setting theory • The media create awareness of a topic by focusing on it • They tell us how important the topic is by the amount of attention they give it • Media imitate other media, creating a “pack effect”
Narcotizing dysfunction • The media provide such massive amounts of information that we get numb • Tend to withdraw from involvement in public issues • We confuse being informed with being active
Cumulative effects theory • Assumption: • Media have effects over the long-term
Spiral of silence model • People who believe their opinion is in the minority stay silent to avoid isolation • Others who agree are then more likely to believe that they also are in the minority • Media coverage of the majority opinion becomes accepted as fact
Cultivation effect model • Over time, TV subtly shapes viewers’ attitudes and values • People who watch a lot of TV are influenced to a greater degree • They are especially vulnerable in areas where they have little first-hand experience
Examples • Heavy viewers of soap operas overestimated • The number of married people who had affairs • The number of women who had abortion • Heavy TV viewers have overestimated • The number of people who work in law enforcement or in the professions • The percentage of people who commit violent crimes
Uses and gratifications theory • Assumption: • Audience plays an active role and uses media to satisfy needs
What uses are we gratifying? • Surveillance (Information) • Entertainment • Socialization
Surveillance • Information for daily life: • News • Advice • Curiosity
Entertainment • Relaxation • Escape • Cultural/Aesthetic Fulfillment • Time filler • Emotional release
Socialization • Forming Identity • Reinforcement for values • Role models • Insight into self • Social Interaction • Insight into others • Basis for conversation/interaction • Substitute for real social interaction (parasocial)
Stereotyping • Stereotypes act like codes that give audiences a quick, common understanding of a person or group of people—usually relating to their class, ethnicity or race, gender, sexual orientation, social role or occupation • Create impact for media messages
Issues with stereotypes • Stereotypes can: • reduce a wide range of differences in people to simplistic categorizations • transform assumptions about particular groups of people into "realities" • perpetuate social prejudice and inequality
stereotypes • Gender Roles • EXAMPLES?
Aggressive stimulation • We learn aggressive responses by watching others, including those in the media • Bobo Doll Studies
Cathartic Effect • Watching violence in media relieves us of the need to act on violent tendencies.
Catalytic Theory • Some media violence can trigger real violence by some people in some circumstances.
Catalytic theory • Is the violence rewarded? • Is media exposure heavy? • Certain demographics – income level, parent-child relationships • Is the violence real and exciting? • Does it right an injustice? • Are situations or characters similar to the viewer’s own experiences?
mean world syndrome • Heavy viewers see the world as ‘meaner’ than it really is and act accordingly • Feel more fearful and vulnerable • Believe violence is normal, an effective solution • Lose ability to empathize and understand consequences of violence
Desensitization • Continued exposure to media violence causes people and society to become more tolerant of violence