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IU / Media / NEWM 213 / act 353 class notes

act 353 class notes

act 353 class notes


School: Indiana University
Department: Media
Course: Intro to Media & Society
Professor: Andrew weaver
Term: Summer 2015
Cost: 25
Name: Media & Society Notes from Midterm-Final
Description: These notes are from each lecture after the midterm up until the last lecture. (Children as a special audience-final thoughts). These include in depth notes from the slides gone over in class, as well as my own thoughts and ideas, some examples, and a few things from the book. The study guide itself will be coming later this week.
Uploaded: 12/14/2015
31 Pages 7 Views 15 Unlocks

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Piaget's theory of cognitive development.

Media & Society

Why treat children as a special audience?  

Cognitive Maturation  

• Cognitive: How we think.

• Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development: Core idea- as we get older, we think  in fundamentally different ways. The way we engage with the world changes as we  age. We think different ways at different stages. There are about 4 main stages.

• Sensorimotor stage (0-2 years): Our engagement with the world is entirely  based on our sensory motor interactions. Taste, touch, etc. They put everything  in their mouths because their brain is telling them to sense as much as possible.  Based on our senses and motor skills, doesn’t go beyond that.

• Pre-operational stage (2-7 years): We are now able to think about the world,  without immediately manipulating it. We can think beyond the basic sensory motor of an object. How something looks still dominates what we think about it there’s a perceptual limit, cannot understand abstract. Perceptual errors. Don’t  understand conservation.  

Field independence is being able to pull out an object from a crowded field.

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• Concrete operation stage (7-12 years): Go beyond perceptual, can understand  some abstract thought, but they don’t anticipate things, have no foresight. Our  emotions are more tied to what we think will happen, so they can’t feel those  emotions until it happens. Can’t understand a plot twist- see it as another event  in the story. Can begin to understand fiction vs. reality.  

• Formal operational stage (12+): Can exhibit foresight, can understand  deductive reasoning, more advanced understandings of logic and reason. Can  think more abstractly.  

• Emotional Maturation  

• How we feel. Emotional intelligence. Knowing what we feel and why. • Moral Development 

• Our moral decisions aren’t based on rational thought- based more on emotion  than it is on reason. Influences the moral judgment that we make.  

What Telecommunications act in 1996?

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• Experience 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

• Changes how we think and feel. We know how certain things look and feel- ex:  sitcoms- lighting and camera angle

“Natural abilities”  

• Field dependence/independence. Field independence: being able to pull out an  object from a crowded field. Ex: being able to notice what is going on behind the main  event of a show/movie.  

• Kids are very field dependent- focus on the key characters, front and center. Can’t  follow things going on in the background.  

• Fluid intelligence: perceptual element, often about picking out visual patterns.  

• Definition: Fluid intelligence is the general ability to think abstractly, reason, identify  patterns, solve problems, and discern relationships. Developed by Raymond Cattell  and his student John Horn in the 1970s and 1980s, the concept is used in  psychology to explain intelligence.

The impact of developmental differences  

• Increased vulnerability- with advertising, they can’t understand the advertisers point  of view.

• Different kinds of effects- different kids are effected in different ways Don't forget about the age old question of engr 310

• The case of The Day After: hyper-realistic version of what would happen in the  case of a nuclear holocaust. A huge threat in the 80s. Threat of war between US  and Soviet Union was a huge worry during the time.  

• Parents demanded the cable network do something so kids don’t see the film, so  they moved the time slot and put warnings on the screen before it started.

• Then they did a study on how kids were effected if they saw this film: they  were not effected. However, teenagers were highly effected. It was a huge  psychological trauma to them. The kids don’t have the abstract ability to  understand that these things could happen to them, while the teenagers  understand that it could happen in real life. Being more developed makes us  more frightful of certain kinds of things than children. Fear is developmental. 

• The case of Baby Einstein: targeted for kids under 2 years old. Changed the  equation for screen media. Before this program, babies didn’t pay attention to  


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

screen media- a TV could be on in the background but they don’t pay attention to it.  Baby Einstein took on this challenge to make a program these kids would watch  and were very successful.  Don't forget about the age old question of christine overdevest

• They use a lot of repetition, light, sound, color, that appeal to a 2 year old. Simple  backgrounds, no plot, focused on perceptual cues. Goal is to aid in their  development.

• Do these kids actually benefit from this? Research has shown that infants don’t  gain extra knowledge, they don’t develop at a more rapid rate, they don’t work.  They are in the sensory-motor stage: only learn by sensing and doing things, not  by watching. They need to interact with the world directly.  We also discuss several other topics like um desktop anywhere
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• Babies watching Baby Einstein are so focused on the screen they don’t gain  anything from it, very successful at capturing their attention but they aren’t  learning anything. Kids in this age range (0-2) do not learn from observation while kids 3+ do.  

• How is the content marketed? Make it seem like the parents are doing their  children a disservice by not showing them these “educational” videos. Parents  want to do what’s best for their child so they buy these videos.  

Children and prosocial effects  

• Example: Sesame Street- kids have to like it to have an effect, which SS is very  successful at. Originally created to give kids skills they could learn at pre school.  Many kids couldn’t go to preschool because of how expensive it is/was so Sesame  Street was created.

• Goal is to teach pre-reading skills, pre-math skills, etc. Letters, sounds, counting.  

• Exposure: over 4 million watch SS. They gain the same skills as they would in  preschool. Not only are the kids entertained, but the parents are as well. Celebrity  appearances, references to adult shows, etc.  

• Effects: kids who watch Sesame Street vs. kids who don’t, do better in school, get  better grades, engage in more leisure reading, take more advanced classes in high  school, graduate, go to college, etc. Watching the show with an adult benefits the  kids even more.


Monday, November 2, 2015

• Scaffolding: The child watching the show with a parent, the effects are much  greater. The parent being there to help explain the content helps them understand.

• Example: Blue’s Clues: run the exact same episode throughout the week- kids love  repetition. Repetition is useful to build on what they learn. New episode on Monday they sit back and watch, then next time watching they can engage, second time  watching they engage even more, etc. By the end of the week they’re shouting the  answers out, see a noticeable change by the end of the week.  

• Goals: help with problem solving skills, as well as giving kids confidence. Very  important for their social-emotional skills.  

• Exposure: Kids who watch Blue’s Clues have greater confidence than those who  don’t, due to the repetition.

• Effects: Makes kids more willing to try new things, more belief they can do  something, etc.  

Protection from harmful content  

• From the government’s perspective:

• Emphasis on protection (1970s): Tried to ban advertising towards children.  

• Deregulation (1980s): If something is harmful for the kid, the parents can protect  them from it themselves. Letting the market take care of itself.

• Telecommunications Act (1996): To govern different aspects of the media  industry; put back a lot of the regulations.

• Wiki definition: The Act's stated objective was to open up markets to competition  by removing regulatory barriers to entry: The conference report refers to the bill  “to provide for a pro-competitive, de-regulatory national policy framework  designed to accelerate rapidly private sector deployment of advanced  information technologies and services to all Americans by opening all  telecommunications markets to competition”

• As it relates to advertising:

• Limits on time: there’s a limit on how much advertising there can be during a  children’s program. About 12 min/hour. The difference between adult programing  doesn’t have an effect.  


Monday, November 2, 2015

• Doesn’t matter how much advertising they see, it still effects them. Only solution  is to stop all advertisements aimed towards children.

• Limits on host selling: Used to mean that any show’s purpose could not mean they  were trying to sell products to kids. That rule was knocked down in the 80s and  completely changed the landscape of children’s programming. Now, the toy idea is  invented first, then a program to go with it.  

• Now, the only restriction is you can’t have a commercial for the toy that the show  on is about. Ex: watching Bubble Guppies, there can’t be a commercial during its  time slot that advertises a Bubble Guppies toy.  

• Requiring of bumpers: There have to be bumpers between a program and an  advertisement. Young children don’t understand the distinction between the TV  show and the advertisement, and if they’re old enough to distinguish the show from  the bumper from the advertisement, they don’t need a bumper in the first place.  

• Ex: Disney channel stars drawing the Disney logo before the show comes back  on/before the advertisements start.

• Kids can’t distinguish the bumpers. This is a big issue with online advertisements  because they can’t tell an advertisement from the actual website. Usually takes  them to a site they shouldn’t be on.  

Paper 3: Rough draft of final paper, due Nov. 9. Need to have the problem you want to  address, at least 2 external, primary scientific sources (5 total by final draft) to build the  case for the issue, need to have some kind of practical, specific solution.  


Monday, November 2, 2015

Rating Systems  

• The goals:

• The MPAA: Motion Picture Association of America- developed first movie rating  system in the 60s to provide parents with information so they can protect their  children, decide what they’re allowed to watch, etc.  

• The other goal was in the movie industry’s self interest to avoid censorship.  There were threats in the 60s that movies would be censored again. The rating  system was made to protect the industry by protecting children.  

• Overall, this system does not work.

• Who rates the films? A group of parents go through a list of guidelines, create a  rating, then go back to the producer and negotiate.  

• Who rates TV shows? The producers themselves. They have to rate each  individual episode, not just a series.

• Who rates video games? The ESRB: Entertainment Software Rating Board. The  game makers put together a video about 20 minutes long of the game play  experience as well as a written description, then the ESRB reviews the footage  and decides the rating. The ESRB never actually plays the game- aren’t getting  the full experience.  

• Issues:

• Consistency: masses inconsistencies with ratings of film between television  between video games. The same people don’t review everything so there are many  different opinions, backgrounds, biases, etc.  

• Accuracy: Different letters are associates with different ratings, ex V for violence,  D for sexual dialogue, L for inappropriate language. Although this system is easily  available, many films/TV shows aren’t rated accurately. The rating system is  serving no purpose.  

• Relevance: The ratings have no relevance for any real world impacts. They are not  based on the knowledge of media literacy intelligence. Rated “R” is for 17+ but  someone who is 15 or 16 viewing it, there isn’t a difference. There’s no reason to  draw a line between such close ages. There’s no relevance to real world impact,  these ratings are not based on childhood developmental stages.  


Monday, November 2, 2015

• Knowledge: Even if the ratings were accurate and consistent, many people do not  understand the ratings or understand why something is rated R. Parents don’t  understand all the letters and number ratings. The average person doesn’t know  the difference between ratings across platforms.

• Forbidden fruit: these ratings make children more likely to consume the content.  We have a fundamental need for freedom of action, and when that is restricted, we  experience a very negative response and go out of our way to break it. Kids watch  it anyways just specifically because it is restricted. Ratings backfire on parents.  Parents can’t monitor 24/7.

• Self-censorship: significant amount of self censorship on the production side  because of ratings. Also influences box office ratings. Movie theaters have their  own policies where they don’t allow a 12 year old into an R rated film, although  even if they did, there would be no legal issues. Just a lot of bad publicity. This also  leads to Director’s Cuts of films which are unrated. Example: the documentary  “Bully” interviewed real high school students, there was a lot of “bad” language so it  was rated R, but the movie was intended for middle school-high school students to  see it, it would benefit them, but schools wouldn’t show it because of the rating.

• What would the ideal system look like?

• Make media ratings look something like cigarette labels: a warning label that  provides information. No age base, no restrictions, no censorship, just warnings.  “This movie contains __ and can lead to __/studies have shown it leads to __”  Allows parents to still decide what their kids can watch.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Media Violence  

• Public concern is focused on the wrong area, discussions are on the wrong  questions.

• Content: there are different types of media violence, some more severe than  others.  

• How to define it: should focus on the intent of violence, rather than the outcome. The  outcome is not as important. Ex: if someone dies or not. Should focus on why they  are in danger in the first place.  

• Findings: Media violence is everywhere, many people consume it, it is a very  common theme. We all consume it at some level.

• The public debate:

• There are people who debate there are no effects of media violence, as well as  those who believe there are positive effects.  

• The scientific consensus: yes media violence has an impact that can lead to an  increase in aggressive behavior. There is clearly something going on. But there is  still people who don’t believe there is an impact.  

• Why the disconnect?

• The impact on media violence is not immediately observable, it is a longer term  effect, and we don’t make the connection with our actions.  

• Media violence is not the only cause for real world aggression, it is not even the  main cause. People tend to focus on media violence as the only source.  

• Ex: if there’s a school shooting, the main debates will be on media violence  and gun control, they don’t even look at the other factors.  

• The way these events and research is reported in the press, they have to report  both sides of the story. You have to present research from a side saying media  violence is the cause, and someone who doesn’t believe media violence was the  cause.

• Accumulation of evidence

• Surveys: count how much people are exposed to media violence, and how  violent the individual is.


Monday, November 2, 2015

• Longitudinal studies: measuring people from children to adults, surveying every 5  years or so. Looking at how they develop over time with exposure to media  violence.

• Laboratory experiments: putting people in aggressive situations to see how they  react, setting up different situations to observe behavior

• Field experiments: studies done at summer camps, daycares, etc.

• Ex: At a summer camp, have a TV in a cabin, show some violent content,  others nonviolent. Then observe which group is more aggressive, those who  consumed the violent content start more arguments and show much more  aggressive behavior.

• Risk/resilience models: often used in medical sciences, captures the idea  that there are multiple causes.  

• Ex: look at 6 different risk factors such as parental, environmental,  psychological, biological etc. One of the risk factors is consumption of media  violence. If a person has no other risk factors for aggressive behavior, but they  consume a lot of media violence, there is no effect. If a person has multiple  risk factors as well as media violence consumption, the percent likelihood of  behaving aggressively is much higher.

A model of human aggression  

• We as humans do not just engage in random acts of violence. There is some  perceived external act. Violence is always a response.

• External act occurs, something happens to a person, then we have to decide if that  external act was meant to provoke us or not.  

• Perception of act: Provocation vs. not provocation. 

• Example: someone cuts you off in traffic, did they do it intentionally to piss you  off?

• Acts can go either way. If we decide it is not a provocation, violence does not  occur. If you perceive it as a provocation, we need to figure out what we will do  about it. There is a whole set of possible responses, violent and non violent. We  make these decisions in a split second.  

• In a different part of our brain, we evaluate the choice we make to decide if it is  appropriate or not appropriate.  


Monday, November 2, 2015

• Only when an external act occurs, we perceive it as a provocation, then decide  our response is appropriate, only then is when a violent act occurs.  

• Violent crime is most common ages 16-18, but human aggression is most often seen  in 2 year olds. 1/3 of all social interactions that a 2 year old has, ends in aggression.  They can’t talk through problems so they use violence instead. A 2 year old’s frontal  cortex isn’t even fully developed yet.  

• Throughout our lives we are socialized to understand violence is not an appropriate  response- socially isolated kids become more violent than others.  

• Hostile attribution bias: the more violence we consume, the more likely we are to  perceive external acts as provocations. We see more violence and believe it is a  violent world- gives us reasoning to do violent acts.

• Someone with a higher hostile attribution bias are more likely to believe a  provocation should result in violence.

• If the social evidence we collect says violence is rare, the less likely we are to  perform a violent act.  

• This does not guarantee we will be more violent, it just increases the possibility.

• *Social learning: people are learning violent behaviors from the violence they are  consuming- only relevant in repeating an act. Very rare. Doesn’t matter as much.

• Disinhibition: much more likely to think violence is appropriate if we’ve consumed a  lot of media violence ourselves.  

• The way media violence presents violence to us, is that it’s socially acceptable.  Usually very limited in consequences, often seen as a positive portrayal. Most of  society tells us violence is bad, but media violence tears down these inhibitions makes us think that violence can be rewarding, justified, etc. Still does not  guarantee violence, but makes it more likely to be involved in aggression.  

Importance of Context  

• Different types of media violence have different effects. Context matters.  • Nature of perpetrator: who is committing the violent act?

• If it’s a villain, a character we don’t like or identify with, behaving violently- can  decrease our aggression and increase our inhibition. We believe that violence is  done by people we don’t like, so we shouldn’t be violent- balance principle.  


Monday, November 2, 2015

• Justification of violence: if we see violence that is not justified or un provoked,  this also reinforces the idea that violence is not appropriate.  

• Rewards and punishments: if the violent act is punished, then we learn that there  are consequences and we know it is not something we are supposed to do. While if  it is rewarded, we think it is good.

• Degree of realism: it matters how realistic the consequences are. Real violence  has real consequences, if the media portrayal doesn’t show a consequence, we  believe there are none. If we see and understand the consequences, it builds up  our inhibition.  

• Seeing blood and gore shows us consequences. Many people believe the  opposite- they focus on the wrong ideas.  

• For games: perception of act. In order to play a violent game we need to shut  down our inhibitions. But when we play a violent game, we don’t even realize our  acts as violent. But if we do realize it as a violent act and still go through with it,  that’s when it has an effect on us.  

What should be done about media violence?

• Who’s responsibility is it?

• Parents?

• What’s been done vs. what’s needed: Parents can try to control what their children  consume but it’s very difficult for parents to control what their kids have access to.  

• What’s needed: better information for parents and how they can better socialize  their children to increase inhibitions.

• Industry?  

• They’re producing all the violence in the first place, so should they be responsible?

• Very little has been done because of the economics of it- more people consume  violent content so they can make more money off of it.  

• There are ways they can change the impact the violence has just by changing  the intent

• FCC/Government?  

• They haven’t done anything. They’ve tried to get involved, but it is not their  responsibility. They should not have to censor the media.  


Monday, November 30, 2015

• What’s the ultimate goal?

• Nobody is suggesting that we can or should get rid of all media violence, as well as  eliminating violence in our society.  

• We can change the way it’s produced without eliminating or censoring it. This is  often where the public debate gets derailed.

Sex & Media  

• Primary public concern: sexual content- what are we actually worried about? What  is the effect we are worried about?

• Media exposure to sexual content may change behaviors and/or societal values

• Where do children and adolescents learn about sex? Sex ed in schools or should it  be up to the parents? Friends? The media?

• Sexual education debate is mostly irrelevant- the number one place they learn  about sex is in the media.  

• We learn the stuff we really want to know- such as sexual norms. We want to  know what it’s like.  

• Sexual content in media: we need to think about what kinds of information they’re  actually getting.

• Over time, there’s been a shift. Before (50s-60s), sex was off the board. Has  changed dramatically.  

• Type of portrayals: most people see sexual content as nudity, very visual, which  is very rare. More common- conversations about sex. The vast majority of  sitcoms now revolve around sex. We don’t see that much actual sexual behavior.

• Imagery vs. ideas: imagery doesn’t have much of an impact. It’s what upsets people/ parents the most. Seeing sexual images doesn’t change our ideas or norms.  

• Example: parents freaking out over Janet Jackson’s nipple showing at her Super  Bowl performance. They’re scared for their children seeing that- although the  songs they’re singing are all about sex anyways, that doesn’t matter to parents.  But information about sexual activity is much more useful than imagery.  


Monday, November 30, 2015

• Cognitive/Attitudinal: directly relates to societal norms- we dramatically  overrepresent the prevalence of sex, the amount of sex people are having, the  amount of partners people have. The media says its common, casual, varied, etc.  Gives us a next-step reality. Blows it out of proportion. Effects our beliefs about  sexual norms.  

• What percent of college students have had sex at least once at some point in  their lives? 80%.

• How many different sexual partners has the average college student had in the  past year? Most common answer is 3- but 78% report they have had 1 at most in  the past year. They dramatically overestimate it.

• How many times has the average college student had sex in the past month?  60% have had no sexual activity of any kind in the past month. Most common  response is 81% say the average would be 2 or more times/month.  

• The amount of sex we see in the media makes us think it is much more  common in real life. We believe that others are much more adventurous than  they really are.

• Self-evaluation: vast majority of us don’t meet these unrealistic expectations. Our  social norms are thrown out of balance and effects how we think about ourselves.  

• The more sexual content we consume, the more disappointed we are with our  own sex lives. This is true even with people in a committed relationship that has  a healthy sex life.  

• Behavioral: do our social norms relate to a change in behavior? If we believe the  expectations are to be having sex more often and with a variety of people, it could  change our behavior. The more common we believe something is, the more likely we  are to change our behaviors to be more similar to the norm.  

• If this is true, it proves our ideas of sexual behavior is more important than  seeing sexual images.  

• Ways to mitigate these effects: how can we address the issues of teen pregnancy,  adolescence, etc

• Current focus of regulation: primarily focused on images, especially in children’s  media.  

• Example: Sesame Street shooting a video with Katy Perry- parents viewed it before  it was aired on TV, but there were too many complaints about her cleavage so it  


Monday, November 30, 2015

wasn’t aired. Even though this would have no effect on the 2-4 year olds watching  the show.

• Young children don’t think of the world in a sexual way, so even when they  consume sexual content, there is no effect.

• The importance of information: if the media is giving us unrealistic expectations for  sex, the solution would be to provide people with accurate information about sex.  

• If sex ed was more like “here’s what your peers are doing, how long they wait, how  much sex they have, how many partners, etc” and how the behavior happens and  how often, this information would actually be helpful.  

• Providing this real information will reduce our social expectations and  dramatically improve our self perception.

• In the absence of information, we make up our own ideas.  

• If we have accurate information about what’s going on, we’ll see that our own  beliefs and behaviors are normal.  


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Race and Media  

• The big questions:  

• Are media biased?

• Based on typicality idea, not factuality

• Stereotypes: generalization made of a group.  

• Is the audience affected?

• Yes. Causes inaccurate thoughts and ideas on people.  

• Does the media have the power to influence our prejudices and racism? • Short answer: yes.  

• Not really a media affect, its more of a societal affect.  

• Media biases:

• Head counts: whites are overrepresented relative to their proportion as a whole,  blacks are proportional as a whole (about 13%), any other racial group is  underrepresented. Latinos, Asians, Middle Eastern, etc.

• Types of depictions: instead of numbers we need to look more at the  depictions of these races- minority groups are much more represented by  outliers.  

• Racial tags are more often to be used if the suspect is of color- ex: “it was a black  male” rationale is to eliminate everyone else, but it’s such a huge category it isn’t  even all that helpful. In the mind of the viewer/reader it effects their views of the  group.

• Racial tags are far more likely to be used if it is a black suspect rather than white.  If the suspect is white, they are just a “suspect” not a “white suspect.”  

• Even though the majority of crimes (violent and nonviolent) are committed by  whites, we only see race identified as blacks, so if their race isn’t identified  they are assumed to be black because of these stereotypes and racial tags.  

• Not only does this happen in news media, but entertainment media as well.  • Average to most of Hollywood means white.  


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

• Who’s watching?

• Diversity is great if all audiences are being exposed to diversity.  

• Different races are watching different types of programming (ex: BET: Black  Entertainment Television, OWN, UNI)

• Audience segregation

• People believe it’s because whites and blacks have different interests- but if you  look at the different content, they’re the same stories being told but with different  racial groups. Ex: Jersey Shore (white) and Bad Girls Club (black), or Big Time  Rush (white) and Shake it Up (black). Same storylines and ideas, different racial  representation.  

• Is segregation necessary? No. It’s useful for producers but not for audiences.  

• If the white audience thinks the movie was targeted for a black audience, they  will not go see it. If we don’t think it’s targeted for us, we won’t go see it.  

• This has only become common recently- in the past, people would still watch a  film with black actors even if they were white. The film industry is moving  backwards.

• What is the effect?

• The role of race in person perception 

• Racial groups vs. characteristics: there is always going to be more variation  within the group then there will be with the groups themselves. Usually a bell  curve within a racial group. This shows that these distinctions are not useful or  accurate. Usually just as much variation if you chose two people from one race  vs two different races.

• Usually the first thing we notice in another person is skin tone.  

• We are more likely to remember things from another race that we are already  familiar with- no new information. Ex: if they fit their stereotype or not.  

• Case studies: what the stereotypes contain is very important. The media is very  important in providing this information. We more often gain these stereotypes through  media rather than personal interactions.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

• “All in the Family”: made in baby boomer era- based characters on his father and  his fathers friends- created to light heartedly poke fun at his parents’ generation  and their racial views. Shows how ridiculous they were.

• Broke ground in race- people didn’t really talk about it or address issues until this  show. Ex: Sammy Davis Jr. making appearance on the show.  

• Intention vs. actual outcome

• Intentions were great, but the majority of the audience saw the racist dad as  the hero, and the non-racist kids as immoral. So because they dealt with race  in such explicit ways, they looked at the dad as someone they could identify  with. So instead of breaking down their prejudices, it just reinforced it.

• “The Cosby Show”: unlike many shows that showed negative depictions of blacks,  this show broke down some harmful stereotypes. Had a strong emphasis on  education and hard work.  

• Did studies and found “enlightened racism” on white audience- whites who  watched the show were more likely to believe blacks could be well educated, hard  working, etc. Saw racial groups as equal in terms of potential. But the perception was  that the Cosby’s were unique- but when you look around at other media coverage of  blacks, the stereotype was that blacks were lazy, unmotivated, etc.  

• Further fed because on the Cosby Show they couldn’t talk about discrimination  because they didn’t want to offend the white audiences. Because they weren’t talking  about those things, whites weren’t thinking about those things. All they saw was a  single case of a successful black family, and assumed all the other “lazy” blacks could  make it just like the Cosby’s just if they “tried” harder.  


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gender and the Media  

• What is gender?

• Gender is different than sex.  

• Sex is biological and physiological, what you were born with

• Gender includes, but is not limited to, societal roles and expectations • What is the gender scale?

• Traditionally binary: men & women

• Realistically: BiGender, Cisgender, Gender Fluid, Transgender, Third Gender (more  common in India), Two-Spirit (people identify as being a man and a woman- most  often seen in indigenous tribes)

• What is Gender Identity?

• It is how we define ourselves and express our gender identities.

• Right from when we are born, we are put in blue clothes as a boy and pink as a  girl.  

• What are Gender Stereotypes?

• Roles or qualities that are generally associated with either males or females • The qualities can range from cognitive behavior to genetic

• Continuing studies on prescriptive gender stereotypes:

• Psychologists began studying gender stereotypes as prescriptive in the 1970s

• A 1974 Study revealed the 20 masculine and 20 feminine attributes appearing on  the Bem SexRole Inventory

• Varying groups of psychologists have completed studies since that time, with a  study conducted in 2002 revealing that many of those stereotypical gender  attributes are still present in American Society

• Study: “What Women and Men Should Be, Shouldn’t Be, and are Allowed to be, and  don’t have to be” by Debroah A. Prentice and Erica Carranza

• Different types of prescriptions:


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

• Positive Intensified and Relaxed, Negative Intensifies and Relaxed • Positive Intensified:

• Stereotypical feminine traits: warm and kind, interest in children, loyal,  sensitive, friendly

• Stereotypical masculine traits: business sense, athletic, leadership ability,  self-reliant, dependable  

• How are these gender traits and roles represented in Media?

• Men do the saving, women do the praising

• Women have traditional roles or are hyper sexualized

• Yet men are also the expendable gender

• Ex: there was plenty of room on the door for Leo in Titanic, but he sacrifices  his life for Rose

• Mens bodies are mourned less than women.  

• Tools to gauge the gender representations: 

• Bechdel Test: created in 1975, there are 3 ways to determine this test:

• 1) If there are women in the Media 2) If it shows women talking to each other  3) If they talk about anything other than men

• Smurfette Principle: if there are more than 5 male characters and 1 female  character

• Looks at how demographics are represented in society. The women are often  there to enhance the male role, support them

• Distoff Principle: there is a male character first, then a female character is  created. Ex: Supergirl made after Superman


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Representations, results and media effects  

• Affirming stereotypes

• Bullying and in-group/out-group associations

• Associating girls as sweet and quiet, boys as rowdy and bad

• Typically children respond to other children not following their gender identity  

• Example: seeing another boy crying, there are 3 ways the other boy will  respond: 1) telling them to stop 2) telling them that’s not manly 3) telling them  only girls cry

• This makes women as an inferior gender, making their gender a negative  connotation  

• Gender limitations, including sexuality as well as in education

• When young girls are told they are bad at math, they do worse on tests. When  boys are told they have a bad vocabulary or bad at spelling, they do worse on  tests.

• Negative body image

• Examples: Batman, The Big Bang Theory, New Girl

• Intersectionality

• Gender and race 

• Layering of identities and going beyond the white female body

• “Gender Similarities and Differences”

• Cognitive, personality, and social behavior, well-being and psychopathology • There are different gender stereotypes for each race

• Gender Roles change across races.

• Example: Serena Williams, not only one of the greatest female athletes, but she  is also one of the greatest athletes. People focus more on her body than her  athletic abilities. Her body is often shamed because she is so athletic, people  see her as manly. People don’t want to see it as a women’s body. Not only is she  shamed for being a female athlete, but also for being a black female athlete


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

• Example: if you asked a male athlete the same questions female athletes are  asked

• Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift debate: Nicki not being nominated for an award  because she is black and not the stereotypical tiny female

• Is re appropriation possible?

• Solutions?

• Increased information

• Does awareness produce change? No.  

• Counter-stereotyping

• Gender stereotyping formation and elementary education

• If you tell young kids their identities, they will identify as it

• Seen with instruments as well: often identify boys with drums, girls with a  flute. But a study proved that if you switched the gender stereotypes, the  children were more likely to be willing to play other instruments  

• Counter-stereotyping works, but only for a certain amount of time. • Changing content

• Who is creating the content?


Monday, November 30, 2015

Media and Health  

• Media as a source of information

• Advertising: the more advertisements we see for exercise and positive activity, the  more likely we are to participate in those healthy activities as well.

• Cigarettes: related to many illnesses, can only be advertised so much

• As advertising increases, the amount of smokers increases, as advertising  decreases or shows the negative effects, the amount of smokers decreases

• Alcohol: very clear behavior between exposure and attitude  

• Food: Crave the foods they see advertised the most

• Prescription drugs: Thinking we need a medication when we need  • Entertainment media

• Most health related effects are indirect.  

• Perceptions of health care/sickness: health is depicted in a very particular way,  you rarely see chronic illnesses or health illnesses that are unresolved. Health in  entertainment media has a resolution, but in real life it isn’t necessarily like that.  

• The more entertainment media people consume, the more upset they tend to be  with their health care providers. Effects doctor-patient interactions, trust, etc.  

• Health behaviors: characters in entertainment media are most often fit, good  looking, etc. but their behaviors do not match up- they sit around drinking, eat  unhealthy, never see them working out or doing any of the activities that the  actors have to do in real life to look the way they do

• We want the outcome but don’t have the perception of what it takes to get  there. If our perceptions don’t match, we’re more likely to give up

• News media

• Focus on breaking “discoveries”: such and such can prevent cancer, can prevent  __ from happening, etc.  

• The way we get our news on health, we don’t get the background info or context,  we’re constantly bombarded with different messages, creates skepticism  


Monday, November 30, 2015

• Medical science has given us good information on what we should and shouldn’t  eat, but we don’t pay attention to that because of all the breaking news  discoveries  

• Social media

• The setting of social norms

• Most of us talk more about unhealthy behaviors, causing more people to  participate in these behaviors  

• Health campaigns

• Orchestrated attempts to change people’s health for the better: encouraging people  to stop smoking, to start exercising, etc.

• Unfortunately, most of these campaigns fail miserably  

• Fear appeals: many campaigns try to scare people into changing their behavior.  Never work because they fail to have…

• Threat: have to make the threat very explicit, and have to connect it to target  audience in a clear way

• Efficacy: have to convince people of the effectiveness of the intended behavior-

• Response efficacy: have to believe the intended healthy behavior will help  avoid the threat

• Self efficacy: the extent to which we can believe we can stop the negative  behavior/begin the healthy behaviors. If you can’t believe you can quit  smoking, then you won’t.  

• Example of failed campaign: “Your brain on drugs” millions of dollars spent  on this campaign- studies show it didn’t work at all

• Another approach: Link to the out group 

• Can work if its done well: DARE in schools- doesn’t work when police officers come  in and talk to the students about not doing drugs, but when older kids they look up  to talk to them about it, they are more likely to listen

• Identification: we identify with our in-group members, we want to be like them, we do  what they do, etc.  


Monday, November 30, 2015

• Denormalize the behavior: only method that has shown some success, if you can  denormalize the social norm, you can change behavior.  

• Ex: The Truth Campaign: they don’t talk about lung cancer or dying early, they focus  on changing norms associated with smoking

• Smoking among adolescents has decreased greatly- now only about 8% of teens  identify as smokers.  

• Health campaigns can work if they are done right.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Sports and Media  

• Sports media as big business

• Incredible amounts of money being exchanged between broadcasting and major  league sports, about 7 billion dollars a year just for NFL television rights.  

• ESPN is the biggest payer into that- $1.9 billion for about 17 nights of  programming. NBC pays about 1.5 billion for the summer olympics- just two  weeks of programming.  

• This is just the rights to air it, not even the production.

• Why are media involved? Why are networks spending so much money on this? • From the leagues’ perspective it makes sense, they need exposure

• From the media’s perspective: you get to air the product, so you can make  money off the advertisements you sell. Sports are more likely to be watched live so  viewers are more likely to pay attention to the ads.  

• But when you look at just advertising, the networks are losing money from this.  They are not going to sell over a billion dollars of advertisements.  

• Advertising is part of it, but there has to be more. 

• Part of the strategy is to draw a unique audience to a network- if they’re  watching NBC football at night, they’ll watch NBC news in the morning. This  gets them a lot more views.  

• The network values this opportunity to show the unique audience what their  network has to offer, so they are willing to take some sort of financial hit.

• Image matters: ESPN brands itself on Monday night football- it’s part of their brand  identity. They build other shows around it. They want to have a foothold in the sport  so they pay big money for these sporting events to give them credibility.  

• Fox ratings went way up once they bought rights to the NFL. They paid their way to  establish their identity and brand, making the top networks a “Top 4” rather than 3.  

• They can use this as a very important bargaining chip with cable and satellite  companies/subscribers.

• Sports drives subscriber fees more than any other content. 


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Effects of media coverage of sports…  

• On sports:

• Schedule: game times are dictated by television coverage. Prime time events are  about when the television audience can be maximized. Ex: why there are lights at  Wrigley Field now.  

• Gameplay: fundamental changes to make them more “television friendly”- not  necessarily making it better- making it more consistent with how long they are. Ex:  overtime rules, shortening shot clock in basketball, having instant replays/reviews,  TV time outs, 2 minute warnings, etc.

• Rivalries: study showed people enjoy sports more when there’s a rivalry. ESPN has  a “Rivalry Week”. Makes rivalries much more intense. Television usually ignores/ tries not to show players shaking hands, talking, getting along, etc. Even the  graphics are set up to over emphasize rivalries.  

• Parity (or not): are the teams on equal footing? Are there dynasties? Have and  have nots? Parity in the different leagues are largely driven by these television  rights deals. NFL, NBA and NHL are all closely equal, MLB not even close.  

• This has a lot to do with how much money they make and how much they can  pay their players. Payrolls are based on TV deals, not salary caps.  

• Popularity: Soccer is the most popular sport everywhere in the world except for US only because it isn’t TV friendly. There’s no spot for commercials so it’s not an  attractive sport for networks, but this is changing.  

• The world of advertising is changing, they are beginning to embed ads and use  more product placement rather than using commercials. Soon viewers will lose  attention to sports because of too many commercials. Because of this, soccer  will soon become the most viewed/popular sport in US.

• Watching a game for 3+ hours is not a good recipe for the new age of  spectatorship.

• On media:

• Most watched cable networks vs. most expensive cable networks: top ones/most  expensive are ones that carry sports.  

• People are more passionate about watching sports than any other TV network/ show. People are willing to change their cable provider just for sports.  


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

• When people can go elsewhere for their content, are the remaining sports fans  willing to pay more for their sports media?

• If this sports model breaks, then what?

• On individuals:

• BIRGing and CORFing

• BIRGing: Basking in Reflective Glory 

• CORFing: Casting off Reflective Failure 

• Idea: we identify with others, and their success or failure becomes part of our  own success or failure. Has an effect on our own self esteem or emotional  state.

• When our preferred team is doing well, we are BIRGing, even though we had  nothing to do with it. Makes us feel as if we achieved something ourselves.  

• We want to tie ourselves closely to teams that are doing well to increase our  self esteem, as well as cut ties to teams that are not doing well.

• On society:

• Increased exposure to sports increases participation in sports

• Sports have changed the way holidays work: watching football on Thanksgiving

• University life: athletics have always been apart of it, but media coverage has  elevated it. If a college wins a major athletic championship, the following year  they receive about 20% more applications the following year.

• Also influences how we talk about issues such as domestic abuse, drug and  alcohol abuse, racism, etc

Final Exam: Friday, December 18 @ 12:30


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Changes to Narrative Entertainment **Monday, December 7  

• How technology is changing to entertainment: Things that lead to change a  fundamental different experience  

• Interactivity: Control

• You control where the narrative goes, the direction of the story. Ex: “Choose your  own adventure” books, but now more interactive in video games, TV, movies.  

• Video games are now being built more about the narrative than the game play  experience, focused on character development, more like a movie

• Changes how much we like it. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t. Many  people just skip through the narrative in games.  

• Impact on appeal: people want more interactivity, yet when they experience it  they more often opt out of it

• Flow: a desirable psychological state that is marked by a departure of reality in a  mental way. You forget about what’s going on in your life, become less stressed  and anxious, become completely focused on a particular task, completely  immersed. Sense of timelessness is a very positive state.

• Conditions required for flow: 

• Appropriate level of challenge: needs to have a task. If it’s too easy, it can be  rewarding but you're more relaxed. If it’s too hard, you experience more  anxiety. To achieve flow, you need to have the skills/control necessary to  achieve it.  

• Tasks resulting in flow, can typically “level up” so we can keep challenging  ourselves. Ex: a gardner “leveling up” growing more exotic and difficult  plants, good video games get more difficult with your skills

• Clear goals: to be truly immersed you need to know what you are going for,  need to know what you want to accomplish.

• Control: we wouldn’t experience flow without interaction  

• Feedback: need to know how we are doing, see if we are being successful,  if we are progressing and reaching goals or not.

• Impact on potential effects:  


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

• Narrative makes video games too much like movies which most people don’t  enjoy- narrative shouldn’t be as important. It actually draws us away from the  game.

• Interactivity: Social

• Networks trying to get people to have conversations while watching a show using hashtags to discuss on twitter. People tweeting while the show is going on  instead of waiting after its over or until the next day.  

• Immersion: The more social interactivity you have, the more immersion you have  into the content.

• You end up paying more attention when you live tweet an event because you’re  paying closer attention to it

• Ends up having closer relationships to the characters

• Social interactivity builds around the narrative itself, ex: “Scandal” “Grey’s  Anatomy”

• What if movie theaters had “Social viewings” that encouraged viewers to turn  their phones on, tweet about the film, discuss it with the people around them,  etc?

• Identity: more likely to make the content part of the audience’s identity- makes  them more loyal, more likely to continue watching the show if they have publicly  identify as a fan of the show

• The act of posting our fandom online makes us identifiable as a fan, makes the  feeling more “real”

• Support: social interactivity provides the audience the feeling of social support- our  perception of how many people would help us if we needed it. Ex: need help moving,  need advice, someone to talk to, etc. We get this in varying degrees from many  people in our social circle.  

• People with perceptions of stronger social support circles are proven to live longer,  have stronger immune systems, overall happier and healthier, have many other  psychological benefits

• It’s hard to grow your social support network because it is reciprocal, you both  have to feel the same way about each other, be able to support each other


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

• Social support networks used to be very limited due to geographic reasons,  but because of social media we can expand our circles. Now our support  networks can be built around similar experiences rather than convenience.  

• Having support from someone who has/is gone/going through the same  experience as us is much more valuable.  

• What narrative entertainment does in this context, is provide us with touchstones  in certain experiences and allows social networks to grow around them.

• User-generated content/feedback: also changing, easier now to get certain kinds of  content

• Changes in gatekeeping: much more possible to publish your work, ex a short film.  

• Is the content different? Do these changes change the content overall that we  consume?

• The content we consume follows prescribed formulas, not random. We see the  same patterns repeat over and over again. People are watching the same  kinds of content so we see the same effects across the board.  

• When we change the gatekeeping models, does that change content? Are  these formulas the result of the gatekeeping process or something else?  

• Yes, in a way the content does change.

• Ex: YouTube- across the board, violent videos were actually uncommon. This points  to one of the reasons why the content is changing. Some of the formulas are based  on misunderstandings of what the audience really wants.  

• We’re starting to see different evidence for what makes popular content, what the  audience wants to see.  

• In another fundamental way, the content is not changing. They won’t change  even when the gatekeeping function is removed. Ex: the emotional reactions we  have to content- what makes us laugh, cry, scared, etc. This will not change.  


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Final Thoughts **Wednesday December 9  

• Changing media impact  

• The media literacy perspective: generally tend to be ineffective because they work  against automatic processes, usually not entertaining to consume

• Parents don’t have as much control as they would like to protect their children from  harmful media.  

• Only media literacy approach that has evidence to show it works: getting people  to change the amount of time they spend watching television. Ex: watching 5  hours a day to 2 hours a day, turning off the TV for a week, etc. Providing  alternatives.  

• This works because it doesn’t require us to change our automatic processes. • Other ways to change impact: 

• Changing content rather than changing the audience

• To change the content you have to privilege creative freedom and economic  model that the media operates under.

• We need to change it in a way so it’s just as appealing if not more to the  audience. Have to acknowledge that the audience has a choice in what they  want to consume.  

• Has to involve a collaboration between those thinking about the impact the media is  making and those making the media itself, and making it in a beneficial way in all  aspects- economically and to the audience, having a prosocial impact.  

• We have to think about making society better as well as making money, not just  one or the other.  


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