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WSU / Communications / COMM 101 / Why is there violence in media?

Why is there violence in media?

Why is there violence in media?


School: Washington State University
Department: Communications
Course: Media and Society
Professor: Taflinger
Term: Fall 2015
Cost: 25
Name: Com 101 Weeks 10 and 11 Notes
Description: Here are the notes from both weeks 10 and 11 for com 101, as week 10 got messed up with the exam in the middle.
Uploaded: 11/08/2015
6 Pages 124 Views 5 Unlocks

Hyeongyu Kang (Rating: )

Com 101, Weeks 10-11 Notes

Why is there violence in media?

Professor Taftlinger

Research = an attempt to discover something  

Social Science = an examination of how people interact with objects in their environment  Giovanni Benedetti decided to test Aristotle's guesses at various things. He performed the ball drop  experiment

Ways of knowing:  

∙ Tradition  

∙ Tied to prior held beliefs

∙ Beliefs are hard to change

Scientific method:

∙ The 4th way of knowing  

∙ Requires systematic analysis

∙ Always open to new information We also discuss several other topics like How much oxygen is required to completely react to 0.50g of so2?

o Nothing is ever "proven" with science

∙ Tests questions of fact

What is the bobo doll experiment all about?

Differences between hard and social sciences:

∙ Hard sciences deal with the inanimate or nonhumans, like elements and forces and animals ∙ Social science deals with people


∙ Observation

o Reduce variables as much as possible

∙ Surveys

o Administers questionnaires to research  

o Be careful with wording the questions We also discuss several other topics like What do cells need to survive?

o Be careful of question order

∙ Focus Groups

o Small panel of people who discuss what the researcher interested in

o Problems with maintaining focus  

What are the types of outcomes in effects research?

o Danger of one person dominating discussion  

∙ Content Analysis:

o Counting things to get statistics  

o Sample size must be large enough If you want to learn more check out What is bertrand model?
If you want to learn more check out What is the distance of hydrogen bonds?

o Time consuming

o Must specifically define what you're looking for

What are media effects?

∙ Media effects approach

o Focus on audiences (vs. media system)

∙ Try to reduce variables

o Specification

∙ Types of Outcomes in Effects Research:

o Behavioral - buying a product

o Attitude

o Cognitive

o Physiological - jump scene in a scary movie

∙ Eras of Media effects:

o Magic bullet/ uniform effects  

∙ Also known as Direct Effects

∙ Pre- 1945

∙ Focus on war propaganda  

o Limited ( or indirect effects) - two step flow

o Powerful effects in limited areas

∙ Early 1970s to present

∙ Move to focus on cognitions and perceptions  We also discuss several other topics like What is punnett square?
Don't forget about the age old question of An infant's mother puts a dot of lipstick on his nose. observers watch to see how often the infant touches his nose. next, the infant is placed in front of a mirror, and observers detect whether nose touching increases. they are studying the infant's what

- How do we know what is going on? Get information from news.

- Relevance: proximity

- Importance: prominence

- Interest: conflict oddity  

- Conflict needs to be odd + out of the norm.

- Agenda Setting:

o Media tells us what to think about – which leads us to perceptions of what matters o Media doesn’t tell us WHAT to think

- People care more about what gets news coverage even if something else is more of a threat - Framing:

o Media tell you not only WHAT to think about (agenda setting) but HOW to think about it

o Explains why people have similar opinions/reactions  

o Shanto Lyengar (1991)

o Examined how issues were presented on television

▪ Episodic: there is a problem that is solved at the end of the episode  

▪ Thematic: a main theme running through all episodes

o How a story is told

- Game Frame: Horse race (politics): Who is leading the race and winning. It implies 1 candidate is  better than another.

- Value Framing: Implies the story is around something that the people watching value - Frank Luntz: really good at framing by choosing specific words. Chose the wording for estate  taxes which = “death” taxes to evoke a stronger emotion  

- Talking Points: words and phrases in a news story which will evoke lots of emotions, and are  given to anyone who wants to be interviewed about the subjects will hit them. They become  part of the world view.  

- Beginning of Spiral of Silence:

o Created by Elisabeth Noelle – Nuemann (1984)

o Examined originally by considering the content of train passengers conversation o Certain topics of controversy that don’t come up to keep the peace

o Individuals who are in the minority will often keep their opinions to themselves =  minority views are less often heard.

o The more the loud voices make noise the more it seems they are the majority - The Big Lie: Joseph Goebbels

o Say something often enough and loud enough, then people will believe them.

Basics of the Knowledge Gap:

∙ Increasing info in the environment will increase knowledge  

∙ High SES individuals acquire info at a faster rate than low SES individuals

o Essentially the" rich get richer": people with higher SES get better information than lower  SES

o Societal and democratic implication

Why The Gap Exists:

∙ Differences in cognitive/ communication skills

∙ Less about memorizing new facts, but rather learning to think about the new information ∙ People do not like reading because they view it as a chore, especially because reading is slow ∙ Listening is a skill that needs to be practiced and mastered

∙ Differences in prior information and knowledge

∙ Access to information

∙ Selective exposure to information

Desire for Consistency:

∙ People generally like to hear information that agrees with beliefs they already hold ∙ Cognitive Dissidence - the personal experiences that create our world

Cognitive Dissonance Theory:

∙ Cognitions: bits of knowledge individuals have stored in their mind

∙ Individual cognitions have one of three relationships with one another

o Dissonant relationship

o Consonant relationship

o Irrelevant relationship  

Magnitude of Dissonance:

∙ Importance of the cognitions

∙ Ratio of dissonance to consonant cognitions: the more new cognitions received that conflict with  existing thoughts the more discomfort. The fewer = less discomfort and less of the need to escape. ∙ Degree of cognitive overlap: the similarity of the choices  

Necessary Conditions for Cognitions Dissonance:

∙ Aversive consequences  

∙ Freedom of choice  

∙ Insufficient external justification - can’t find enough outside sources to support what you believe,  and reject the new information


∙ People rationalize things in absurd situations

Selective Exposure:

∙ We tend to expose ourselves to info sources that are likely to reinforces our views ∙ Happens at three levels:

o Selective Exposure

o Selective Perception - people tend to see what they expect to see. Personal experience  influences all the time

o Selective Retention - we remember things that are important to us.  

Effects of Violence/ Aggression:

Why is there violence in media?

∙ Its exciting  

∙ It attracts attention

So Why Violence?

∙ Quickest and easiest way to show the conflict and solve it

∙ Less time consuming than verbal talking

∙ Makes it easier to write the story

∙ Has been a way of solving problems for a very long time  

NTVS Results: Context

∙ 24-28% of perpetrators are "good" characters

∙ 37-40% of perpetrators are "attractive"

∙ 71-75% of violent scenes do not have punishment of perpetrator  

∙ 15% of violent scenes show blood and gore

∙ 51-58% of violent incidents do not show the victim in pain or harm

∙ 39-43% of violent scenes involve humor

Basic Assumption of human behavior:

∙ Much of it is learned

∙ Learning - the process of acquiring, through experience including observation, new and relatively  enduring information or behaviors  


∙ Thoughts, perspectives, and expectations, -- remembering the past (whether the past is real or  not) relating it to the present, and making predictions about the future.

Solving Problems:

∙ Trial and error - come up with a solution and try it

∙ Algorithms - a step-by-step process to solving a problem. A lot like a computer science problem ∙ Heuristics - mental shortcut to solve problems. Faster than the first two. Your solution could be  completely wrong, where the media comes into play, because the media offers superficial  

problems, that barely resemble personal ones. If people apply these solutions, there will not be a  correct solutions

Classical Conditioning:

∙ Pavolv's dogs  

- helps explain stimuli trigger an automatic response

∙ Process of learning an association between stimuli (dogs learning that the ringing of the bell  means food will soon come)

∙ Unconditioned stimulus - natural stimulus that reflexively produces a response without prior  learning (a bell)

∙ Unconditioned response - unlearned reflexive response (dogs drooling)

∙ Conditioned stimulus- originally unpaired with anything, but soon is used to elecit the  conditioned response (The bell which makes the dogs drool)

∙ Conditioned response - the response that is associated with the conditioned stimulus.  (Drooling after bell is rung)

∙ Reward vs. Punishment: people want reward and avoid punishment  

∙ Albert Bandura: Psychologist at Stanford

∙ The bobo doll experiment: children watched a video of an adult playing aggressively with a  bobo doll, then were placed in a room with many different toys, one of which was a bobo  doll. The children began imitating the adults by playing aggressively with the doll. ∙ The three steps of learning  

∙ Key info is taken in and processed

∙ Integrates the info and makes rules about how things work

∙ Put those rules into practice  

∙ His findings lead to the Social Learning Theory

∙ Issues with the bobo doll experiment:

∙ The bobo doll is a punching bag, that is its purpose

∙ The children could be just following instructions

∙ The person who is to be imitated needs to be of status to the imitators

∙ It was a doll and not a person

Priming: causes certain memories to come to the top of your mind because there is a reminder of something in you past that comes to the front.  

We can be primed to think of things.

Studies on priming and violence:

∙ Watch violent or non-violent clip

∙ Watch a cartoon (fuzzy vs. clear)

∙ Next students were interviewed with walkie talkies and microphones

∙ Frustration came from fuzzy video clips and walkie Talkie

Modeling - Bandura, people will imitate observations  

∙ Attention - pay attention to the media

∙ Retention - retain the story

∙ Production - the subject has to be able to reproduce the study

∙ Reinforcement - positive reinforcement presents

∙ Mirror neurons allow us to vicariously experience other people's experiences o We feel what others feel by simply watching it

∙ Kids will imitate what they see on television  

Cultivation Analysis:

∙ The more time you spend with media, the more you think it is an accurate representation of the  real world

∙ George Gerbner (1976)

∙ It predicts that watching TV will cultivate attitudes that are more related to the TV world rather  than the real world

∙ If you watch a lot of TV you think life is like the world you see in TV

∙ Tv brings up social stories that bind a society together

∙ Mean World Syndrome:

o People believe an event is more possible to happen if they can think of examples of it o Because there is so much coverage people believe events are common, even when there  aren't that many instances of it

∙ Desensitization - people who are exposed to a lot of violence, its effect on them decreases as they  become desensitized to it.  

o Decreases arousal

o Indifferent to real-life violence

o Less willing to help

o How does it work?

∙ Classical conditioning

∙ Catharsis: cleansing, the audience experiences great emotions when showing tragic events and  they also experiences a great relief after it is solves  

o viewing of violent media content helps to purge violent impulses

o Exposure to violent television should reduce aggression

o Almost all the evidence is inconsistent with this theory

o This doesn’t happen because in real life it can't


∙ Everybody knows that they are unjustified beliefs about a certain group of people that separates  them from everyone else. But this definition only is about people.

∙ Fixed form or convention: something lacking in originality or individuality  

∙ The human mind gathers info and stores it in memory, and uses it to compare to new things ∙ How we get info:

o Somatic: what we personally experience through our senses

o Extrasomatic: Sources of information external to your personal experience  ∙ Mechanical sources

∙ Extend our senses

o Association: depends on who we associate with, also known as socialization ∙ Associative impressions = a problem, associated with a variety of people

∙ Impossible to avoid  

o Vicariously: through imagination and through media  

∙ Have a built in drawback: limited by the senses of the creators of the sources ∙ Complication of limited means of communications (words, pictures)

∙ A pale shadow of the real thing

∙ Great advantage: it is objective to you, it opens up the possible ways of viewing things ∙ What do we do with all the info?

o Sort into categories

o The categories are stereotyped

o Why categories?

∙ So we can consciously think about things

∙ It’s the way the human mind works - we remember the past, relate to the present,  and project the future. We decide what we would like to have happen, and then  follow the steps to get the desired outcome.

o People think of everything belonging to one group or another

o Pigeonholing:

∙ Put any and all info we gather about anything, regardless of source, into a box, the  stereotype

∙ New boxes are created when new information comes in  

∙ If the new information is not important, it will not create a new box

∙ Stereotypes are shortcuts to thinking:

o Called "heuristic" device

o Identify superficial characteristics  

∙ See, hear, smell something

o What you perceive triggers a stereotype box

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