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Book Notes Chapter Two

by: Andrea Lloyd

Book Notes Chapter Two 375

Marketplace > Texas A&M University > COMM > 375 > Book Notes Chapter Two
Andrea Lloyd
Texas A&M
GPA 3.2

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About this Document

A continuation of the History of Audience, but also the beginning of sociology and research to understanding audiences.
Media Audiences
Wendi Bellar
Class Notes
audience, sociology, Communications
25 ?




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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Andrea Lloyd on Monday September 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 375 at Texas A&M University taught by Wendi Bellar in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Media Audiences in COMM at Texas A&M University.


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Date Created: 09/05/16
● Virginia Tech 2007 massacre ● Columbine High School 1999 massacre ● Violent Video Games and Mental Health theory debunked ● Media messages carry potentially damaging information for the public, and that  these message need to be carefully monitored and potentially restricted ● Origins of media effects theories in the early 20th centuries ○ Industrialization and mechanization caused migration to the cities ■ Created a giant pool of cheap labor for the  industries ■ Migrants poured from Ireland, England, Europe,  and other places ■ Motion Pictures in 1890s and consumer radio in  1920s ■ Social, economic, and technological causes anxiety from the upper class and scholars about the impacts of these changes  and uncertain future direction of society  ■ Motion pictures became the dominate leisure time  activity ■ Motion pictures rose at the same time as sociology ● Sociology was an attempt to  understand and contextualize the enormous charges under way  as a result of industrialization, rapid urbanization, and immigration ○ Charles Horton Cooley and the Emergence of Sociology ■ Considering ramifications of Gustave Le Bon’s  crowd theories  ■ Dynamics between individuals and social groups ■ How groups develop and are sustained ■ Impact of group membership on psychology of  individuals ■ Charles Horton Cooley ● “Communication: the mechanism  through which human relations exist and develop ­­ all symbols of  the mind, together with the means of conveying them through  space and preserving them in time. It includes the expression of  the face, attitude, and gesture, the tones of the voice, words,  writing, printing, railways, telegraphs, telephones, and whatever  else may be the latest achievement in the conquest of space and  time.” ● First individual to link psyches to  worldviews with immediate surroundings and messages carried to  them by media ■ Cooley was interested in how the new medias and  technologies disseminated more communication to the public as well as  catalyze unity between people of difference.  ■ Lowered barriers to information allowing people to  pursue individual interests and goals  ■ Media provides only a superficial understanding of  public issues and people ○ Concern Over Film Audiences: Hugo Munsterberg and Mass  Suggestibility ■ Le Bon’s theories about suggestibility of large  crowds to demagogues were adapted to film. ■ A lack of evidence to support arguments of  concerned elites ergo they felt it was a threat ■ Munsterberg ● Motion pictures alter people’s sense  of reality ● To engage with a film’s story,  audiences must place themselves in the story ●  Confusion of reality and content ● The extreme emotional and  cognitive state movies leave us in leaves us to psychological  suggestion.  ○ Cinematic world of  images and places would displace real world social  interaction ● Moral Panics: strong negative very  negative public reactions to the spread of new social behavior  ● Media Panics: a type of moral panic  that surrounds the introduction of a new media or content genre ● Replaced Le Bon’s crowd with mass  society: isolated, anonymous, vulnerable ● Mass Society Theory and the Payne Fund Studies ○ Farm labor was being displaced by faster and more efficiency with machinery  ○ Ferdinand Tonnies  (57) began analyzing of large scale shifts and  observed a transition between Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft  (society). ■ Gemeinschaft: communities become increasingly  disintegrated because of urban migration and the deep social  relationships in the community.  ● Small knit communities were strong  with shared heritage and cultural traditions (like religion and ethnic ties) ● Informal interpersonal  communication ■ Transplants from tight knit communities to different  urban settings affected  ■ Gesellschaft: larger group of individuals living  together in an urban environment ● Formal contracts between strangers ● Largely anonymous and displaced ○ Mass Society Theory: isolated nature of individuals living in  modern, urbanized environments are correct and the role that media plays in  such a society (e.g. newspaper, magazines, motion pictures) ■ vulnerability of audiences to forms of mass media  in urban, industrialized environments  ■ Medias are a malignant influence because of the  capacity to directly influence an isolated individual ■ Mass media continues to isolate the anonymous  city dweller, debase culture, and result in social decline ○ The Payne Fund Stories (1929 ­­ 1932) ■ Mass Society Theory was accepted by those who  were concerned by potential negative influence of motion pictures in the  1920s ■ Suspected movies could plant ideas into minds of  unsuspecting audiences  ■ Payne Fund: a philanthropic organization to  encourage adolescents to read took up the cause against movie films ■ William Short was hired to conduct a large scale  research project to generate scientific evidence in 1933 ■ Payne Fund Studies explored physical and  emotional impacts, effects on racial attitudes and beliefs, self identity, and factual learning and retention. ● Retention of factual knowledge:  action movies more easily remembered ● Children’s attitudes towards ethics  and people: Shuttleworth and May discovered slightly lower  grades, but more liked by peers ● Lack of conclusive evidence  frustrated Short ● Clearer link between film exposure  and attitude change: Peterson and Thurstone focus on film effects of films’ controversial issues (e.g. Birth of a Nation and Blacks).  Discovered kids were strongly affected by the perception. When  multiple films reinforced the attitudes the kids.  ● Psychological and Emotional impact  of movies: heart rates, blood pressures,and sweaty palms.  Response to films varied by age and experiences ○ Consequences of the Payne Fund Studies ■ Despite mixed results by the studies, Payne  published that movies represented a powerful and inherent danger to  American youth ■ Motion Picture exposure and delinquency ­­ Herbert Blumer ● Emotional Possession to describe  the sway viewers feel after watching a movie ● Fears of persuasion through radio,  motion pictures, etc. ■ Emotional Contagion: viral like spread of emotional  states and attitudes from one individual to another through mass media ● The War of Worlds Broadcast and the Direct Effects Model ○ When Payne was published Radio was emerging  ○ 70% of Americans households have a radio ○ During the 30s, people clung to their radio for for information,  entertainment, and comfort. ○ Cantril and Allport: Rhetorical conventions of radio radically  oversimplified many issues, reducing them to black or white dichotomies. ■ Worried about narrowing the minds of American  listeners and resulting in telling them “what to eat, what to read, …”  ■ Radio is a tool of Propaganda ■ Organized institute dedicated to understanding the  impact of radio on society ■ Map out methodologically strategies for tracking  who was listening to radio and why ○ The War of Worlds Broadcast (1938) ■ Many listeners tuned in late and thought it was a  real news program ■ “Primed to believe in the radio as a trustworthy  source of news, 100000s of listeners panicked when they heard Welles’  broadcast ■ 1 million were frightened, prominently in Princeton,  New Jersey ○ Cantril’s Study of Mass Panic among Radio Audiences ■ Cantril studied the Mass panic among the public (it  is not a predictable social opportunity to study, so entirely post­panic  information was used) ■ Critical ability: a capacity to evaluate the stimulus in such a way that they were able to understand it inherent characteristics  so they could judge and act appropriately ● Related indirectly to education level ● Like Payne, revealed media  messages were contingent on characteristics of the audience.  ● Mass Propaganda Concerns and World War Two Communication Research ○ Besides short­term emotional responses (Welles), media can  change audience’s beliefs and behaviors about a war ○ Early Concerns with Mass Persuasion ■ Walter Lippmann: ● Stereotypes: predominant method  through which all individuals perceive the world ● Individual's’ sense of reality is  therefore mediated by their expectations of reality, and these  expectations are formed exposure to the media. ● Journalists provide an incomplete  picture of the world events for the public ● Public makes decisions off of the  narrative the media provides ● Media propaganda: disseminate or  promote particular ideas, to propagate ■ Woodrow Wilson used propaganda to rally public  support and pressure Congress and American Business to cooperate ● George Creel’s Committee on Public Information included Secretaries of War, State, and Navy to  coordinate the public relations effort ● Informed of duties for war bonds and food storage ● Depicted germans as barbaric and  evil ● Solidified idea that media forms can  persuade millions of people to change their minds and attitudes  and behaviors ○ World War Two Communication Research ■ Creel’s propaganda and persuasion of radio  crystallized that media message could alter audience’s attitude and  behaviors ■ Wartime Communication Research Stouffer and  Hovland ● Editing Axis footage to tell a new  story ● These films were effective in soldier  knowledge around history and geopolitics, and did little to alter  their resolve to fight ● No magic keys to unlock mass  persuasion ● Postwar Communication Research: The Rise of the Limited Effects Paradigm ○ There are conditions which a message might be persuasive ○ Persuasion Research: Selectivity and the ELM ■ Hovland ● Systematic theory of persuasion ● Isolate and explore how humans  make decisions ● Weak fear appeals are more  influential than medium and high fear appeals ● Low credibility when biased and  unfair when compared to a high credible source ● Source Credibility: degree which to a messenger perceives the source of the material to be credible ● People dissociate a message and  credibility over time, so a short term effect ● Consistency Theory: human beings  drive for cognitive consistency (mental agreement between  someone's beliefs about an object or event) is a prime motivator  for all human behavior ○ When exposed to  beliefs that are inconsistent with previously held beliefs,  they experience confusion and tension ■ Festinger ● Theory of cognitive dissonance:  need for cognitive consistency is so strong ( and discomfort felt by individuals by this inconsistency) that individuals will rationalize  their actions to relieve the inconsistency. ● Selective perception: process of  reinterpreting the world to match one’s previously held beliefs ● Selective exposure: individuals  actively avoid a state of cognitive dissonance ■ Petty and Cacioppo ● Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM): maps out the process by which an individual forms an attitude  about an object, event, or experience. ● Motivation to process the message ○ Message perceived  as important to receiver and is able to process ­­ central  processing ○ Motivation or ability to process a message is low, receiver takes a shortcut and  quickly decides about message based on periphery (like  background music or emotions) ­­ peripheral processing ○ The People’s Choice (1944) and Personal Influence (1955) ■ Effects of media messages are limited in scope ■ The People’s Choice ● To what extent did the radio and  newspapers shape voters’ choice in a presidential election? ● Decision relatively remained the  same over time and media is used to reinforce their  predispositions ■ Opinion Leaders: individuals were regarded as  knowledgeable about a particular issue and were consulted as a source  on that issue ● Monitor the media for the trends and information ■ Two step flow of communication: the impact of  media messages flow through opinion leaders, who then pass along this  influence to other audiences ● Lack of media influence previously  because person­to­person communication was not well  understood ■ Personal Influence ● Effects of Media Violence ○ Rise of Public Concerns Over Television and the Surgeon  General's Report (1971) ■ Television: immersive experience of movies,  immediacy of radios ■ 1960, 88% of households own a television ■ Was violence becoming a national epidemic  ( Assassination of the kennedys, Martin Luther King JR, Vietnam war) ■ Does mediated violence encourage aggressive  behaviors in children? ● Albert Bandura ○ Social Learning  Theory: the Bobo Doll thing.  ○ Kids watched adults  beat it and then some saw consequences and some did  not.  ○ Children internalized  behavior they witnessed on television ● Liebert and Baron ○ Children watched  even a short selection of violent TV were more willing to  show aggression ■ Surgeon General Report stroke fears that children  were influenced by TV (like Payne 40 years earlier) ○ Long Term Media Effects and Cultivation ■ TV habits of 8 year olds are predictive of their  aggressive behavior through their life ■ Children who were in the upper 20% of television  exposure were significantly higher on measures of aggression than others in the participation ■ Negative effects last much longer than anticipated ■ Cultivation theory: audience's’ conceptions of  reality are developed through exposure to television over a period of  months and years ● More likely to perceive the world in  ways that mirror television than social realities ● Stability of attitudes over time rather  than attitude change ○ Video Game Violence and Effects ■ Television continues to be a dominant source of  news ■ Video game playing has increased over time ■ More video games reported with aggressive and  delinquent behaviors ■ Video game addiction has increasingly became a  concern ● Conclusion: Enduring Concern over Media Effects ○


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