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Midterm 2

by: Eric Jackson

Midterm 2 COMM370010

Eric Jackson
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Theories of Mass Communication
Angelini,James R.
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This 24 page Study Guide was uploaded by Eric Jackson on Sunday November 8, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to COMM370010 at University of Delaware taught by Angelini,James R. in Spring 2015. Since its upload, it has received 33 views.


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Date Created: 11/08/15
Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 8 Worst Questions from Exam 1 Which of the following is NOT a tool of science? A. a concept B. tenacity  tradition is not science! C. variable D. All of the above are actually tools of science. E. Actually, none of the above is a tool of science. While reading a newspaper articles you see the phrase, “First Lady Michelle Obama smiled warmly.” What type of bias is this article guilty of using? A. Adjective bias B. Adverbial bias C. Attribution bias D. Contextual bias E. Outright opinion True or False: The Dvorak keyboard was an innovation which did not diffuse. The primary reason it did not diffuse was because there was not relative advantage to the Dvorak keyboard as compared to the existing and widely used QWERTY keyboard. A. True B. False  it had a relative advantage, but it lacked compatibility Which of the following is NOT TRUE about early research on groups? A. Asch’s research showed that group pressures influence individual declarations B. Asch’s research showed that reference groups were more influential than primary groups  he didn’t study reference groups, he focused on casual groups C. Lewin’s food studies showed that group discussion influences the persuasiveness of lecture material D. Sherif’s research using the autokinetic light effect showed that even casual groups influence individual perception E. All of the above Mass communication theory is based on… A. authority B. intuition C. science  the others are all related to naïve theory D. tenacity E. All of the above Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 One of the chief dysfunctions of the surveillance function of media in society is that the presentation of too much information may force them into a state of apathy or passivity. What is this effect also known as? A. depersonalization B. dissonance C. gatekeeping D. homophily E. narcotizing  imagine like a narcotic where it dulls your senses Jacqueline decides to Skype with her friend Kat who is studying abroad this semester in Norway. Jacqueline tells Kat about her relationship with her boyfriend, about the classes she’s taking this semester, and about her recent car troubles. Unfortunately throughout the chat the video freezes, forcing Kat to reload the program and in turn missing pieces of the conversation. Jacqueline can visibly see Kat’s frustration with the technology and decides to try their chat another time, hopefully when Skype is working properly and both have stronger WiFi signals. Which of the following five theories best explains the situation described? A. Information Theory  talking back and forth then there is noise B. Social Accessibility Theory C. Social Identification Theory D. Theory of Idiosyncrasy Credit E. Two-Step Flow Typically critical theorists view the media as a ______ to society and the world. A. filter B. interpreter C. mirror D. screen  See it as a barrier E. window AUDIENCES An audience is defined as a group of spectators. Historical Notions of Audiences - They’re usually planned for in advance - They’re localized in time and place - Anyone in the group has access to presented information - Where someone is an audience member is indicative of status o Ex: going to see a Broadway play vs. a movie at the local theater - People freely decide to go to presentation - Motivated by enjoyment Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 Models of Audience - Audience as an Aggregate o Whole group behavior; individuals not so important o Not communication-centered approach o Based on audience size – be wary of outliers o Ratings and funding can be gained from audience as a whole o Public opinion polls can be used to understand population’s thoughts on a topic o Audience activity or passivity is irrelevant – the important thing is that they are engaging the media, not so much that they care about what they see o Ex: Billboard charts for top songs - Audience as a Market o Thought of as commodity sold to advertisers – audience is the product, not the content (think propaganda theory!) o Audience is somewhat active in this process – advertisers play into this and pitch products based on programming o Audiences know what they want to gain from their media – preferences for certain content over others - Audience as Mass o Difference from aggregate: dispersed group that do not know each other o Mass society approach: society has strong ties that bring order and meaning for individuals o Media communicates to us what we should believe and how to behave to be a fruitful member of society o Reactive, not active – social consciousness constructed upon exposure; we are taught how to act/react to situations through media o Audience members subject to manipulation/persuasion - Audience as Active o Members have goals and desires and will actively strive to reach these goals PROPAGANDA SIDEBAR Propaganda intends to control attitudes and actions of others by playing on their pre-existing biases with messages designed largely to appeal to their emotions and/or irrationality. - Done through manipulating forms of communication (songs, visuals, etc.) - Usually more advantageous to person sending message - Elitist phenomenon – those with some semblance of power have access/means to media to be able to transmit their messages - Grows out of mass society theory – people’s desire for societal structure - Key concept is control over mass audience - Characterized by: Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 o Concealed purpose o Concealed identity of informant o Control of information – no opposing messages o Management of public opinion is ultimate goal o Manipulate behavior of audience Ellul: Types of Propaganda - Political propaganda o Used by gov’t and pressure groups  Pressure groups: organizations with some kind of vested interest in political process o Aim to change public behavior to reflect goals of government o Strategic, long-term, and subtle - Sociological propaganda o More common type of propaganda o Aims to unify a group ideal where everyone has same beliefs/attitudes o Goal is conformity/homogeneity where everyone is part of the group consciousness Propaganda Basics - Propaganda of Agitation: people take active role in changing society and changing societal norms - Propaganda of Integration: people come together as one and have same set of beliefs - Propaganda is MESSAGE-CENTERED, not audience-centered - Message characteristics – Lee and Lee’s 7 propaganda devices o Name Calling  Idea that giving something a bad label makes us condemn/reject it without evidence  Ex: “terrorist” vs. “freedom fighter”  Advertisers do this by calling out their competitors to assert that they are better o Glittering Generality  Use virtue words like comfort, super, etc.  We associate these words with things being better because of their connotation with superiority Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2  With children, these are fun names given to products (think cereals) o Transfer  Message of something respected or revered is carried over to apply to some other item  i.e. translates from one item to another  Ex: putting product in front of American flag to promote feelings of patriotism o Testimonial  Consists of having some respected or hated person saying some product is good or bad  You want someone well-known/respected to positively promote your product  Or have someone not well-respected promote a competitor’s product  Ex: celebrity endorsements o Plain Folks  Speaker attempts to convince audience that ideas are good/wholesome  Public thinks person in the ad is like them and will thus feel an association/connection o Card Stacking  Selection/use of facts (or lies) to give best possible case for product, idea, person, etc.  Ignore things that don’t support you  Ex: Pepsi Challenge – they only showed the people who picked Pepsi between Coke and Pepsi o Band Wagon  You’re trying to get people to use your product because everyone is doing it  You’re an outsider if you don’t use the product Active Audience - Audience has to be selective in choosing certain media over others – develop individual preferences - Members are socially linked – sometimes your friends’ choices influence yours - Goal-oriented because certain gratifications are wanted from different media Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 MEDIA EFFECTS This is important because of media’s presence in society and sheer number of people exposed to its messages worldwide. Presumption of Media Effects - Basically, why are these effects just assumed to be there? o Media consume time and money from people constantly paying for new content o Anecdotal evidence – ex: kids watch cartoons with violence then start to act aggressively on some level o Self-interest of media companies  Advertisers and program networks want their content to have some kind of influence – most likely financial interest o Self-interest of politicians  Use media to persuade and manipulate voting patterns o Self-interest of academic scholars  Some people would have nothing else to study otherwise What are Some Media Effects? - Intentional effects (intended by creator) o Successfully persuading audience to buy a product o Political campaigns steering public opinions on issues/candidates o Effects of PSA’s on behavior  Ex: stop smoking, avoid drugs, etc. o Effects of propaganda on ideology  Trying to persuade people without their knowledge or benefit – this is the intended effect of the creator - Unintentional effects (unforeseen by creator) o Effects of media violence on aggressive behavior o Impact of media images on social construction of reality  Statistics can cause people to think world is more dangerous than it actually is o Effects of media bias on stereotypes  People then believe/perpetuate these stereotypes  Negatively skews their views/perceptions of these people o Effects of sexual content on objectionable attitudes/behaviors  Ex: consequences of unplanned pregnancy and STDs are not usually depicted in media “stories” o Effects of cognitive activity overall  Automaticity: audience members can watch TV without giving much thought to or critically evaluating content Historical Views of Media Effects - 1920s-40s: Bullet Theory/Hypodermic Needle Theory o If you’re exposed to same media content, it will affect everyone in the same way because it is a “shared experience” Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 o Media has a greater effect on individuals though o Famous example: War of the Worlds  Most people didn’t know it was just a book reading  People had heightened level of anxiety/panic  Magic bullet theory allowed these to spread quickly but not as much as people thought o Doesn’t take into account how people interpret books, movies, music, etc. in different ways - Limited-Effects Model (1940s-60s) o Theory says mass communication typically has small effects on audience as a whole – only affects a few members o “Why We Fight” – Hovland’s Army Studies  About soldiers’ feelings on training and joining the army  Original intent was for people to want to join the army  Successful in exchanging information but unsuccessful in persuading people to join  Thus the effect was LIMITED – did not affect everyone o Cooper and Jahoda – Mr. Biggott cartoons  Contained some anti-prejudiced messages  When prejudiced people read these, they agreed with Mr. Biggott and identified with him – reinforced prejudices  People who agreed with anti-prejudiced messages saw Mr. Biggott as a villain and reinforced their connection to anti- prejudiced messages o Erie County voting study – election info was received directly by opinion leaders, not followers  Thus two-step flow cannot exist without limit-effects model - Powerful Effects Model (1970s-90s) o Mass media impacts a lot of people, not necessarily everyone, but in significant and powerful ways o Mendelsohn’s research – follows idea of large-scale media impact  CBS’ “National Drivers Test”  People were overconfident in their driving abilities  Distributed test via magazines, stores, gas stations, etc  Unsatisfactory score told people they should enroll in driver improvement program  35,000 out of 30 million viewers actually enrolled  Not everyone but a significant portion  A Snort History  Effects of alcohol on driving abilities shown before movies  3 in 10 people who saw it said they’d change behavior  Informational soap opera  Rise in social instability in LA Mexican community – gang crime and vandalism Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2  Telenova created to get message out to community about how they could help  Characters experienced many of the same problems as members of the community  6% of viewers joined community groups like the ones shown in the soap opera o Great American Values Test  Surveys about values that Americans hold dear  Aired on ABC, NBC, CBS at same time every night  60% of viewers had only these channels to watch  TV surveys went out immediately after  Program blocked in certain areas and survey sent out to people in this group – control group  Responses mirrored what the program said if people watched program o Media usage impacts civic engagement  Less people were voting, going to rallies, joining public team  People watching TV seemed to be less socially engaged o Important to note: this does not occur universally or easily  One quick exposure ≠ desired effect takes place Current Views on Media Effects - No one overarching theory exists today but commonalities exist - Audiences are active – selective about what we watch - Niche communication – some effects of media will be very unique to some individuals - Stronger effects – viewers get more saturated amounts of exposure to themes like violence and sex - New media – internet effects still being explored THEORY OF USES AND GRATIFICATIONS Audience-Centered Approach - People choose their media based on desired gratifications - Choose media that supports their specific purpose (intentional) - We can freely make choices to act on our intentions (powerful) - We want to get something out of our interaction with the media (goal- oriented) - Grew out of people being dissatisfied with effects research o Didn’t like how it accounted for passive audience – less power - Focuses on: o Why people select one form of content over another o Media effects – does media achieve goals person wanted to achieve? o Focus shifts: Purpose of Communicator  Purpose of Receiver Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 Basic Model: The social and psychological origin of needs which generate expectations of the mass media or other sources, which lead to differential patterns of media, resulting in needs gratification and other consequences, perhaps mostly unintended ones. Categorizing Needs - McQuail et al (1972) o Diversion – seek media content that allows us to escape reality o Personal relationships – expose ourselves to certain media to feel like we belong o Personal identity – turn to media for self-understanding about our reality, models of behavior o Surveillance – want information about things that might affect us and help us accomplish some task - Katz et al (1973) o Cognitive needs – want to acquire knowledge; learn from media o Affective needs – want to have an emotional/pleasurable experience o Personal integrative needs – build confidence, establish status, strengthen credibility, reinforce beliefs, etc. o Social integrative needs – strengthen connection with family and friends by having shared experience o Tension release needs – freedom from daily stresses - Basic Psychological Needs (UD – Perse and Courtright 1993) o To relax o To be entertained o To forget o A ton of others don’t bother knowing this one completely o Concede that some people may turn to the media with more than one purpose in mind Core Concept: Different people can use the same mass communication message for very different purposes - What one person uses for entertainment purposes someone else may use it for educational purposes Uses and Gratifications Research - Research tends to focus on needs sought in a specific genre - Quiz Shows/Game Shows (McQuail et al, 1972) o Self-rating – compare themselves to the “experts” on the programs  Feel good when the person they like actually wins  Also feel good when you get a question right that the contestant got wrong o Education – people like knowing more than they thought they did Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2  Feel like it’s self-improvement o Social interaction – people look forward to talking about these programs with others  Families might work together to get questions right  Provides a shared interest/connection o Excitement – forgetting about own worries and enjoying the program; feeling involvement in the competition in some way - Soap Operas (Herzog, 1944) o Emotional release – way to find something positive in a typically stressful day o Wishful thinking – people can “escape” to these fantasy places because of how different the soap opera lives were from those of the listeners o Advice – find solutions to their own problems - Soap Operas (Perse, 1980s) o Exciting entertainment – can lead viewers to experience positive emotion (excitement, intrigue) o Pass time – just to fill the day; nothing else to do; avoid boredom o Voyeurism – experience private lives of the characters o Escapist relaxation – to get away from daily stresses of life; imagine they are part of the soap opera world o Information – again to solve their problems o Social utility – use soap operas as a tool to connect to other people; common interests connect them to a social group - Erotica (Perse, 1994) o Sexual enhancement – some people say they watch it to learn more about sex; to learn about body, satisfy curiosity about specific sexual practices o Diversion – some people watch out of boredom or to relax o Sexual release – “solitary use”  Seen as a safe outlet for sexual behaviors o Substitution – using it because they lack the personal skills to find someone to have the physical relationship with Major Criticism - Usage of mass communication is ritualistic or habitual - Basically it can be done at a low level of attention or without much purpose o Ex: if you turn on the TV at 4:00 and Ellen is on – it’s just background noise (mildly pleasant stimulation) Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment refers to experiencing pleasure from the mass media. - This is hard to identify and define - Only users of the media can decide if something is entertaining for them  it’s subjective! - Basis is in the distinction between reality and fantasy o What is reality is usually not considered entertainment – why? o Reality refers people to the problems of the real world o Fantasy forces people to abandon real problems and surrender to relaxation and imagination – pressures of life do not exist Reality Vs Fantasy - Reality: o Alertness – logical or sensible manner of solving problems o Awareness of threats – perceive what is going on in the world around us and when threat is imminent o More anxiety – happens because of our awareness of threats; natural emotional response to protect ourselves when the situation calls for it o Enlightenment – need instructions/need to learn how to handle life - Fantasy o Emotional attachment/investment to favorite characters in movies or video games o Removal of threats – these threats go away because this is the opposite of the real world o Less anxiety – threats and danger do not exist here so they are let go and forgotten o Wish fulfillment – less want to learn and more want to just fulfill desires instead - Creates a dichotomy between entertainment and information o It is possible for things to be both informative and entertaining – they are not mutually exclusive  Ex: satirical news program (The Daily Show, Colbert Report) o Thus there is not a dichotomy in these programs How People View Role of Entertainment - Asceticism: life is characterized by abstinence (self-denial) o Hope to achieve a higher level of spirituality by avoiding worldly pleasures o Entertainment is avoided to destroy destructive temptations - Calvinism: religion that looks upon entertainment as a distraction o Entertainment is used as an attempt to “save” people from society o However, it is only a distraction and stops people that God wants us to potentially become (impede man’s development) o Bit more religious in tone than asceticism - Marxism: political/socioeconomic system Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 o Ruling class realize the necessity of the working class for economic prosperity o Entertainment is used to keep working class happy and productive o Entertainment is essentially for the working class, not those in charge so that the elite can reap the financial benefits - Psychoanalysis: fear of emotions o Entertainment capitalizes on the reality vs. fantasy elements o We don’t want to experience the negative emotions in our lives so we look to fantasy to avoid them o Creates a dichotomy in reality versus fantasy - Aesthetics: what makes something tasteful versus disgusting o Mass media lowers people’s taste in high art o They lose the ability to appreciate this more sophisticated art - Children o Used as examples of fantasy world of entertainment o Children very easily get lost in make-believe/fantasy o Play theory - Source of bad effects: focusing on entertainment increasing aggression, violence, etc. - Entertainment as an escape: acts as an “arena” Entertainment is Functional - Provides an escape from everyday problems - Provides filler for leisure time - People are concerned that our entertainment is creating a consumer culture (obsessed with material possessions) Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs - Move up a level once you achieve a certain set of needs - Most basic needs that you cannot live without are lowest (physiological) - At which level does entertainment come into play?  social needs/belonging o We find common group with others to achieve acceptance Definitions - Bossman and Macconi define entertainment on the following dimensions: o Psychological relaxation – allows people to destress, escape the “daily grind” o Change and diversion – diverse experiences that people would never experience otherwise Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 o Stimulation – impacts emotional states, making overall experience exciting and thrilling o Fun – enjoyable aspect of entertainment o Atmosphere – can generate feelings of comfort for an individual o Joy – when we leave entertainment experience we remember it as a very positive experience - Essentially, audience desires a “good time” Pleasure - Pleasure of the senses – ability of an individual to find pleasure in their own actions (in what they hear, smell, touch, taste) - Pleasure of the (ego-) emotions – ability to expose oneself to things (books, TV shows, songs) to evoke specific emotions within themselves - Pleasure of personal wit and knowledge – ability to find pleasure in use of cognitive and intellectual power (when you have to think and use logic to learn something) - Pleasure of the (socio-) emotions – ability of one to feel another’s emotions and identify with them o Ego vs. socio – whole vs. specific parts (respectively) Play Theory - Version 1: William Stephenson’s Play Theory of Communication o Individual-level approach – examines how individual interacts with communication and encounters it differently o Work is reality and concerned with production o Play is fantasy – unproductive and concerned with self-satisfaction  Doesn’t typically contribute to overall transmission of knowledge o Views all communication as either work or play with no middle ground (oh wow look another dichotomy) o Work communication: commanding, persuading, or educating o Play communication: communication you get pleasure from  Ex: movie, video game, concert, etc. o Distinction between work and play communication is primarily dependent on the audience member – it is subjective!  Ex: Sesame Street is educational but without the audience actually realizing it because they are entertained by the experience o All voluntary media use has to be play and pleasure-oriented  Anything you are forced to watch, attend, etc. is work - Version 2: Oerter’s Conceptualization of Play o Play is intrinsically motivated and highly attractive  You have the choice within yourself to watch a movie, play a video game, etc. Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 o Play implies a change in perceived reality based on what it provided to them by the media o Implies that it is frequently repeated  Favorite programs and songs are repeated because we want to achieve the same pleasurable experience o Play is used as a device for coping  Children – wish for control that they lack in their own lives  Adults – use play to cope with reality; motivated by pleasure Appeal of Suspense - People want to experience positive outcomes of protagonist or hero - But what if they’re not sure if the hero will succeed?  suspense! - Audience must experience the negative feelings to get to the (hopefully) positive outcome that results at the end o To some, these negative feelings can be just as pleasurable as the positive ones at the end Elements of Suspense - Uncertainty about the unknown – audience does not know what will happen next – leads to nervousness and anxiety - Worry about what the hero has to go through - Threat of a negative outcome is always a possibility throughout - Happy ending at the end of the suspense heightens because of all of the negativity that precedes it Zillman (1980) – VERY IMPORTANT MASS COMMUNICATION THEORIST - Focus on one of the paradoxes of mass communication - The paradox in question here: why do people enjoy the negative feelings associated with suspenseful media content (nervousness, anxiety, etc.)? - Questions the masochistic qualities of people - Arousal-Jag Approach o Suspense is uncomfortable and unpleasant – very emotionally draining o Pleasure occurs when suspense is resolved o Greater suspense, greater relief, greater pleasure  the payoff is worth it o Lower aversion will not have as large of a level of pleasure because not as far of a drop in negative emotions Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 PARASOCIAL INTERACTIONS/RELATIONSHIPS Parasocial relationship: one-sided relationship in which one party knows a great deal about the other, but the other does not - The other person doesn’t return those same feelings or may not even know that the other person exists - Ex: relationships between celebrities and fans\ - These have become increasingly common as TV shows and film popularity rise o These people are “brought into our homes” daily or weekly o Especially with reality television we can see the “inner lives” of celebrities - Parasocial interactions create a bond of intimacy o People feel like what favorite celebrities do impacts their lives in a personal way o Ex: sports teams, bands o Don’t know them personally on a one to one level - These interactions are promoted actively in much of TV o Characters address the camera directly  fostering a relationship with us that isn’t actually real o Talk shows do this by going into audience to answer audience questions or addressing broad-reaching topics o Soap operas involve overly romanticized versions of everyday interpersonal activity o Sports create this connection between players and fans by telling people the players’ stats MOOD MANAGEMENT Another theory by Zillman (1988) – DON’T FORGET ABOUT HIM - Based on selective exposure research – people choose to expose themselves to media that supports their existing attitudes and beliefs - Entertainment media are used by people to regulate their moods/emotions o Want to elicit specific emotional response and choose specific media to do so - Individuals will: o Strive to rid themselves of bad/unhappy mood – go away negative feelings o Strive to perpetuate and maintain intensity of good moods  For both of these you can use positive media to reinforce or switch your mood o These choices might be a conscious or unconscious actions!  Sometimes the mood just makes you make the choice – you don’t explicitly say “I’m happy so I’m going to watch this”  Which media you choose doesn’t have the same media on you as it may on other people Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 Mood and Media - What about media content can affect moods? o Excitatory potential – level of arousal or excitement  Fast-paced music has high level of arousal  Fast camera movements/changes has higher excitatory potential  Violence or sex have high excitatory potential o Absorption potential – potential for an audience member to get lost in the narrative/storyline o Semantic affinity – how alike is audience member’s mood to emotions being generated by emotions being generated by media  Need low semantic affinity to change mood o Hedonic valence – pleasure derived from media (varies from person to person) – how positive or negative something is is different from person to person - Based on experience with media content, people have learned what kind of content is exciting, calming, pleasurable, not pleasurable o Tend to avoid content that does not provide positive emotions o People use media content to regulate arousal  Valence (positive or negative)  Level of arousal (excited or calm)  Dominance (in or out of control) o People use media content to increase feelings of pleasure Research Example – Hormones and Program Choices - Appeal of TV programs to women during their menstrual cycle - Women have positive emotions during ovulation - First asked questions about their media preferences o Given a list of 25 – 10 dramas, 10 sitcoms, 5 news programs - Also asked questions about menstrual cycle - Researchers believed when hormones were lowest women would want to watch sitcoms more than anything else - When hormones were highest, believed women would want to watch more dramas (esp. more sexually-charged ones) - Attributed this to mood management Research Example – Mood and Music - Knobloch and Zillman - Asked to rate 20 men/women’s neutral expressions as a certain emotion o Some were given positive feedback as they went along, others got negative feedback, and some got no feedback - Next, they were asked to choose between 15 different songs and could listen for ten minutes while the researchers “prepared” - People who got negative feedback were more likely to listen to joyful, upbeat music Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 Appeal of Sad Films - Downward Comparison (social comparison theory) o Someone evaluates themselves against a group with more serious troubles than their own – positive effects of comparisons o Sometimes makes us feel better to see others not doing so well - Meta-Emotions o Emotions about emotions o People just like to feel sad every once in a while Disposition Theory - Important concept: Empathy o Empathy is being aware of and understanding feelings and thoughts of someone else o Think about when someone tells you positive news – they got engaged, got into med school, etc. – if you feel positive too then you are expressing empathy - How does empathy relate to mass communication? o Enjoyment of media content is a function of viewer’s emotional responses to characters and to those outcomes experienced by those characters o Enjoyment increases when:  Liked characters experience positive outcomes  Disliked characters have something bad happen to them o Enjoyment decreases when:  Liked characters experience negative outcomes  Disliked characters have good things happen to them  Woah no way didn’t expect these Affective Dispositions - Viewers form “alliances” with characters – you bond with them o Share in our favorite character’s successes o Doesn’t have to be with primary characters but it most often is o Despise and root against some characters - Feelings range o Extremely positive  Indifference  Extremely Negative o How you feel about a character may not always be constant o This will change as we judge the rightness and wrongness of character actions Model of Disposition Formation - Guess who studied this?  Zillman! - Developed a seven step process 1. Perception and assessment – see what character does 2. Moral judgement – audience member judges actions of character as appropriate and moral or not Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 3. Affective disposition – for moral route, positive emotions develop; for amoral route, negative emotions develop 4. Apprehension/Anticipation – audience member hopes for positive outcome for moral character or a negative outcome for amoral character  Apprehension – you don’t want bad things to happen to good character and vice versa (worrying)  Anticipation – you want good things for good characters (what you want) 5. Perception/Assessment – audience member views outcomes and attaches some sort of emotion towards them 6. Response to outcomes – decides how they now feel about the character and story 7. Moral judgement – assessment of the entire media production; basically whether or not you approve of the story Back to Disposition Theory - Been applied to describe audience enjoyment for a variety of media content o Dramatic fiction o Crime dramas o Sports o News - Used in conjunction with: o Mood management o Selective exposure o Uses and gratifications o Parasocial interactions EXCITATION TRANSFER Primarily concerned with physiological arousal, basically the excitement and anticipation that someone gets from experiencing a piece of media. - Can manifest as speed up of heart rate, increased sweating, etc. - Often “labeled” based on context – mood labels how it is interpreted o When context is pleasurable  arousal is labeled as “pleasure” o More arousal = more pleasure - Can also be due to negative stimuli – labeled as “unhappiness” or “displeasure” - Suspense is successful if it is arousing - Arousal does not dissipate quickly – why? o Residual levels of arousal impact subsequent experiences o Ex: positive arousal will make the following experience more positive and vice versa with negative Research Examples - Advertisements and watching sitcoms o Groups of people watched a late 90s sitcom Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 o There were three commercial breaks o People who had humorous ads rated the program more favorably o They thought the ads were funny  laughed and became excited/aroused  transferred those thoughts to the program - Web page downloads and website enjoyment o Longer a website takes to download, more chance for arousal to “ramp up” and increase  this was the researchers’ theory o Fast load group got a longer time to look at it; slow load group got shorter time to view the advertisement o After they were taken to – people who were in slow load group clicked a lot more  Basically they took this to mean that their arousal was more increased FLOW THEORY This theory gives an understanding of the process by which certain behaviors make life more enjoyable - Example of a painter: explains how a painter can so thoroughly enjoy the process of painting and the psychological and emotional state that results - State of Flow: a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand o Block out outside world and focus on enjoyment Characteristics of Flow - Intense and focused concentration – nothing breaks attention - Loss of reflective self-consciousness – cannot take into account actions and reactions of people around us; we tune them out - Sense that one can control one’s actions – we know how to respond to whatever happens next - Distorted temporal experience – lose track of time - Experience of being in the state of flow is intrinsically rewarding – besides physically having something like artwork o Psychologically or cognitively rewarding o You feel good afterwards because it fills some sort of gratification or need Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 Model of Flow Theory - When your skill/ability level matches the challenge level of the task, this is what is known as the flow zone o Ex: if you’re a college student reading preschool books, you might get bored because you’re at a different level o Ex: if you make a preschooler read a textbook they would become anxious and shut down - If you have a higher skill in a medium, then you will want higher level/difficulty in the medium o Ex: print/books  someone higher in skill level will want to read something like Richard III rather than Harry Potter but there are still some aspects that could make them want to read HP o Ex: Disney movie vs. foreign film o Ex: for TV, you might be confused if you come in halfway through a show and become lost depending on the level of challenge of the show AGENDA SETTING “The press may not be successful much of the time in telling people what to think but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.” Bernard Cohen (1983) What is an Agenda? - It is a list of items in the order of their importance - Media’s agenda covers the issues that they present that they deem the most important o Ex: the front page news is what newspapers think it most important Max McCombs - Chapel Hill Study – McCombs and Shaw (1972) - Done based on 1960 presidential election - Two step research: o Content analysis – identify the media agent o Interviewed Chapel Hill residents who were undecided  What did they think the country’s biggest issues were?  What factors contributed to their decision? Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2  Wanted to identify public opinion - Correlation between media emphasis and voter perception o i.e. the same issues the papers talked about matched what people said for the most part o Remember this means they are related, not that one causes the other Funkhouser (1973) - Research based on content analysis of news magazines o Specifically TIME, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report - Gallup polls asked people what “the most important facing America” was from a selected list found from the news magazines - Strong relationship between public opinion and amount of coverage - This created a chicken-and-the-egg effect: does media coverage influence public opinion or vice versa? Charlotte Study - McCombs and Shaw (1977) - Based on 1972 presidential election - Similar to Chapel Hill Study o Larger sample interviewed o People were interviewed multiple times leading up to election - Provided evidence that media does have a causal effect on public agenda o Because they got new information from the media their opinions reflected the new issues that were presented Iyengar Experiments - Exposed participants to 4 days of altered newscasts o Experiments can show causation better than surveys - Experimental group – stories about defense inadequacies were presented first - Experimental group – stories about pollution were presented first - Participants increased their ratings of importance for these issues Two Kinds of Agenda Setting - First Level/Order o Agenda is the issues o There will be smaller issues under the larger “umbrella” o Ex: foreign policy, law and order, civil rights, fiscal responsibility, public welfare - Second Level/Order o Agenda is specific notions about the issues o Ex: if 1 storder is fiscal policy  Income tax reform, balancing the budget, etc. are the second order agendas Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 Agenda Setting Terms - Obtrusiveness: how much the public experiences the issue directly o If it’s obtrusive, then it is part of their everyday lives  Media agenda doesn’t have much of an effect on where this goes in someone’s list o If it’s unobtrusive, then it’s unfamiliar  Media agenda can change where this goes on someone’s list - Abstractness: degree to which an issue is difficult to conceptualize o Many people don’t fully understand/comprehend an issue o Media does set agenda for topics that are easier for audiences to understand - Framing: how a certain piece of content is packaged so to influence interpretations o Presented in a certain way so that you think about it in a particular way - Priming: process by which the media attend to some issues but not others o Media chooses to be selective and this makes people think that the issues they talk about are the most important o Thus they are “priming” these issues in people’s minds - Gatekeeping: control over selection of content discussed in media o Who controls this?  the gatekeeper o Someone else has decided what the public hears about and thus chooses what is “primed” for the public SPIRAL OF SILENCE Originally created by Dr. Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann (1974) - Political Science Theory with Mass Media Applications Mass Media has powerful effects on public opinion. - Affects how people express their own personal opinions - Characteristics of the media o Cumulation – build-up of themes/messages over time o Ubiquity – widespread presence of the media o Consonance – unified picture of an event or issue  Media usually talks about same facts – audience gets pretty much the same facts no matter where they go - Public Opinion Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 o How are opinions about controversial issues distributed?  What are the minority opinions and where are they? o Am I part of the majority? o Is public opinion changing to agree with me (if in the minority)? - Come to either conclusion: o I feel like I’m in the majority. o I feel like my public opinion is changing toward my opinion.  More likely to voice your opinion o Voicing your opinion leads to:  Point of view remaining prominent in society  Others with the same opinion will speak up as well  Think group effects topics! o I feel like I’m in the minority. o I feel like public opinion is changing away from my own.  Likely to remain silent about the issue  Fear isolation and reprimand o This silence leads to:  Point of view continues to not get media coverage  Minority becomes thought of as “deviant”  Others will also remain silent Media’s Influence - Shape impressions about which opinions are dominant - Perpetuate ideas of “majority opinion” - Shape impressions about which opinions are on the rise - Shape impressions about which opinions are “socially acceptable” or able to be spoken about without reprimand - Fear of isolation is the motivating force for this silence How Does Public Opinion Ever Change? - How does the minority opinion ever come into the public eye? o Vocal minority – even though there is the fear of isolation, these people (typically known as radicals) spread their minority view o Usually more highly educated or higher in socioeconomic status o Likely to speak out regardless of public opinion THIRD PERSON EFFECT W. Phillips Davison (1983) studied this: Third person effect: belief that messages have little effect on you and me, but influences others - Perceptual hypothesis – belief about messages having effect on others - Behavioral hypothesis that people will take action due to the perception of these effects - Something must be done to protect these other people being affected by the media Theories of Mass Communication – Midterm 2 Perceptual Hypothesis - Think that media has a greater effect on others – why? o Want to maintain a positive self-image o We do this through comparing ourselves to others who are “weaker” o We underestimate the common sense of other – we know our own skills but believe they don’t have the same skill level - Paternalist attitudes: feel the need to protect the vulnerable o Want to save them, not necessarily physically but cognitively or emotionally Behavioral Hypothesis - Action is taken – not due to the media message itself o We’re not going to mobilize a protection effort just from seeing one or a few messages o This happens because of the anticipation of other’s reactions and the messages effects - Usually done through some kind of censorship – content is filtered o This occurs to protect the “weak” people that need to be “saved” Research Examples - Gunter (1995) – Pornography study - Wu and Koo (2001) – Pornography study - Both studies proved third person effect because people said that they did not believe they were impacted by the porn but others might be - Wu and Koo’s study led to changes in public policy – pornography became censored in Singapore where they did their study - McLeod, Eveland, and Nathanson (1997) – studied rap music and violent lyrics o Found the same thing – people thought that they would not be affected by the music but others would o These same people were found to support censorship of the music - David and Johnson (1998) – study asked college-age women about their ideas of ideal body image Social Distance - Greater distance from an issue will increase the 3 rdperson effects - Ex: college-age women felt that they were not directly affected by media about body image o Going out the next step in social distance to their friends, they did not believe their friends were affected either o Going out to the national level, they did believe that the women nationwide who they did not know were the most affected - Possible that some are misperceiving and underestimating the media’s effect on themselves


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