Media Psychology

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A Levels Psychology (Media Psychology) Note on Media Psychology, created by otaku96 on 04/28/2015.

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Media Influences on Behaviour Prosocial Behaviour Social Learning Theory (AO1): We learn by observation and imitation. Whether a behaviour is repeated depends on the consequence Unlike anti-social acts, portrayal of prosocial acts in the media are likely to reflect already established social norms, reinforcing them and making them more likely to be imitated Social Learning Theory (AO2) It has been found that 77% of children's programs contain prosocial messages, enabling them to have the influence suggested by social learning theory, however, it has been found that only 4 of the top 20 most watched programs for under 17s contained a prosocial message, suggesting they are less popular Studies have found that children are most inspired to act in a prosocial way when they are shown the exact steps of positive behaviour. Parental Mediation (AO1):Effective mediation involves the parent discussing the program with the child, explaining any ambiguous or disturbing material and following up the concepts presented, helping children understand complex moral messages.Parental Mediation (AO2): Follow up discussion has been found to increase the acceptance of prosocial norms. the biggest effects occurred when a program was viewed in a classroom and accompanied by discussion led by a teacher However, conflicting studies have suggested that post-viewing discussion can lead to decreased altruism. It is suggested, however, that this could be due to the adolescent tendency to adopt views that counter adults' Developmental Factors (AO1): Because factors such as empathy, perspective taking and moral reasoning develop with age, the effect of prosocial media is different of children of different ages Younger children may be less affected by prosocial portrayals in the media because they cannot pick up on social norms Developmental Factors (AO2): It was found that there was a weaker effect of prosocial media on adolescents than school children, and that effects on pre-school children were intermediate Some suggest that media is unlikely to influence prosocial development as at an early age of development, children are not ready to absorb such information, and as they get older, home experiences have a larger influence Prosocial vs Antisocial Effects (AO2): Children have been found to be more likely to generalise after watching aggressive acts than prosocial acts, limiting the overall effectiveness of prosocial messages in the media It has been found that children who watched mixed prosocial and antisocial messages behaved more aggressively than children who had watched antisocial messages alone Antisocial Behaviour Five Ways Exposure to Media Violence Leads to Aggression in Children (AO1):Observational Learning and ImitationChildren observe actions of role models and imitate them. Children may imitate violent behaviour that is seen to be successful in achieving the model's objectives. The more realistic violent scenes are perceived to be, the more children identify with the charactersCognitive PrimingAggressive media can activate existing aggressive thoughts or feelings. Frequent exposure leads to stored scripts of aggression which may be recalled if any aspect of the original situation is presentDesensitisationMedia violence desensitises children to the effects of violence. The more aggressive behaviour a child witnesses, the more acceptable it becomes to them. Frequent viewing leads to less anxiety about violence; it becomes 'normal'Lowered Physiological ArousalBoys who watch a lot of TV show lower than average arousal in response to new scenes of violence. Arousal stimulated by violence is at first unpleasant, but constant exposure leads to a decreased physiological responseJustificationViolent behaviour on TV may provide a justification for a child's own behaviour or moral guidelines. Ability to judge issues involving harm is primarily acquired through social transmission. By justifying violence in the media, children may consider it an acceptable standard of behaviour, and reduce guilt and concern about the consequences. Aggressive children may justify their own aggression. It may suggest the attitude that problems can be solved with aggression Antisocial Behaviour (AO2):Observational Learning Bandura's research supports the view that children develop increased levels of general aggression through imitating models (Bobo doll experiment). Moderate levels of aggression were shown even when the model was a cartoon There is no evidence for copycat violence outside of Bandura's specifically designed videos, for example, no link was found between the James Bulger murder and the murderers' watching of the film "Child's Play" Cognitive PrimingCognitive priming has been demonstrated in a study where hockey players were deliberately made frustrated, then shown a film where an actor held a walkie-talkie, that was either violent or non-violent. In a subsequent game, the players who had seen the violent film behaved more aggressively, but only if the referee was holding a walkie-talkie, suggesting the walkie-talkie was acting as a cue for aggressionDesensitisationThere is the suggestion that people may get used to screen violence, but this does not automatically imply they will then go on to use violence in the real world. Screen violence is also more likely to frighten children than to make them aggressiveLowered Physiological Arousal:There is a counter-claim that watching violence leads to increased arousal. This counter-claim leads both to the theory that this arousal creates a readiness to aggress in the right circumstances, and that this increased arousal is cathartic, as it allows one to release pent up energiesJustificationMany TV programs have mixed prosocial and antisocial messages. This supports the concept of justification, as the use of aggression by prosocial characters lends an aura of moral justification to violenceOther AO2: Bandura's research was methodologically flawed, as it transpired that the children knew the aim of the study and displayed demand characteristics There is a gender bias in research, as research has primarily focused on male-male violence and used all male samples, making the results ungeneralisable A natural experiment was conducted in an island called St. Helena, which received television for the first time in 1996. It was expected that there would be an increase in antisocial behaviour, but in reality, the majority of the measures used to assess prosocial and antisocial behaviour showed no differences in either behaviour type. Measures that did show a difference were equally split between positive and negative changes Effects of Computers and Video Games on Behaviour Positive Effects Helping Behaviour (AO1):Prosocial games have been found to increase helpful behaviour. In one study, participants played either a prosocial game (Lemmings) a violent game (Lamas) or a neutral game (Tetris) for 8 minutes. They then saw a researcher knock a cup of pencils on the floor. It was recorded whether the participant helped pick them up. Participants who had played the prosocial game helped 67% of the time, compared to 33% and 28% for the neutral and violent games respectivelyMultiplayer Games and Social Commitment (AO1):Suggestion that multiplayer games increase social commitment. In a survey into the effects of multiplayer games on social commitment, it was found that 64% of multiplayer gamers were committed to civic participation compared to 59% of solo players, and 26% of multiplayer gamers had tried to persuade others to vote in an election compared to 19% of solo players. Those who took part in more social interaction involving the game were also more likely to be committed civicallyFacebook (AO1): Suggestion that Facebook walls can have a positive impact on our self esteem, because feedback posted on them tends to be overwhelmingly positive In a study, US students were given 3 minutes to use their Facebook page, look at themselves in a mirror or do nothing. It was found that those who had interacted with their Facebook page subsequently gave much more positive feedback about themselves than the other two groups Positive Effects of Computers and Video Games on Behaviour (AO2): Prosocial games do not have an effect in reality due to their lack of popularity. 85% of video games involve some kind of violence. Therefore, even if prosocial games can cause positive behavioural shifts, people who are likely to play video games are less likely to play prosocial ones, causing fewer prosocial video games to be marketed Methodological limitations - in surveys, participants are not randomly allocated to conditions and their prior civic commitments and prosocial activities are not taken into account, creating an issue of cause and effect There are therapeutic applications to video games, for example, in the treatment of PTSD ('Virtual Iraq'), allowing soldiers to relieve and confront psychological trauma in a low threat context. Playing Tetris has been found to minimise the mind's tendency to flash back to memories of traumatic events An explanation of how Facebook increases our self esteem has been proposed to explain the findings. The 'Hyperpersonal model' suggests we select information to represent ourselves in a way which has a positive effect on our self esteem by leading to positive feedback Negative Effects Research findings and studies (AO1): Lab experiments have found short term increases in levels of physiological arousal, hostile feelings and aggressive behaviour following violent game play compared to non-violent game play. For example, participants blasted their opponents with white noise for longer and rated themselves higher on the State Hostility Scale after playing Wolfenstein 3D (a violent first person shooter game) compared to those who played Myst (a slow paced puzzle game) Longitudinal studies - in a survey of 430 children aged 7-9 at two points during the school year, it was found that children who had high exposure to violent video games became more verbally and physically aggressive, and less prosocial (as rated by themselves, their peers and their teachers) Several meta-analyses have found a consistent link between violent game play and aggression. The association holds for both children and adults. Larger effects have been found in newer studies, which is explicable as violent video games have become more violent over time Facebook (AO1):In a study of undergraduate students, it was found that 12% experienced anxiety linked to their use of the social networking site. Stress was also reported from deleting unwanted contacts, the constant pressure to be humorous and entertaining, and worrying about the proper type of etiquette towards different friends. 32% stated that rejecting friend requests made them feel guilty and 10% reported that they disliked receiving friend requestsNegative Effects of Computers and Video Games on Behaviour (AO2): A major weakness of lab experiments is that researchers cannot measure real life aggression, and must use measures of aggressive behaviour that have no relation to real life aggression A problem with the longitudinal studies is that the children may be exposed to other factors affecting their aggressiveness (it may be that a less supportive home environment is one where they would be allowed to play violent games) Research has yet to establish a reliable causal link between violent gameplay and aggressive behaviour. A bidirectional model has been proposed which suggests that while playing violent video games may cause an increase in violent behaviour, it is just as likely that people who have aggressive tendencies preferentially select violent video games Media and Persuasion The Hovland-Yale Model Source Factors (AO1):The attractiveness of the communicator, including expertise, popularity, physical attractiveness and perceived similarityMessage Factors (AO1): Whether the argument is one sided or two sided (intelligent audiences prefer a two sided argument and to make up their own mind, less intelligent audiences are more easily persuaded by a one sided argument) An important or strongly emphasised message carries the most weight People are more likely to be persuaded if the message does not seem to be trying to persuade them A fear message is effective at persuading, but only when a mastery approach is taken, ie, advice is given on how to avoid the feared situation Audience Factors (AO1): Younger people are more susceptible to persuasive messages than older people People with low (less likely to process content of message) or high intelligence are less easily persuaded than people with moderate intelligence Women are more easily persuaded than men The Hovland-Yale Model (AO2): Attractive sources are not necessarily the most influential. Research on product endorsement suggests that celebrity endorsements are not effective, as they are not regarded as convincing or believable, and the celebrity can also overshadow the product they are trying to endorse. It has been found that celebrity endorsement does not significantly increase the persuasive communication of the advert As suggested by the model, fear appeals do work, for example, the 2008 government campaign in Australia against crystal methamphetamine, called ICE. It used a moderate fear level by showing explicit images of the consequences of using the drug, such as skin abnormalities and criminal behaviour, however, it also emphasised opportunities for positive attitude formation and behaviour change. The campaign was found to change the opinion on drugs for 78% of 13-24 year olds There is a gender bias in research into the Hovland-Yale model as the topics considered are those with which men are more familiar. It has been found that people are more easily persuaded by topics they are unfamiliar with, which may explain why women have been found to be more easily persuaded - they are simply less familiar with the topics presented There are methodological limitations in the research, as much research into the Hovland-Yale model used army personnel and students as participants. They would have an age, wealth and education profile untypical of the general public, so results cannot be generalised The Elaboration-Likelihood Model Central and Peripheral Routes to Persuasion (AO1): When we are motivated and able to pay attention, we take a logical, conscious thinking, central route to decision-making. This can lead to permanent change in our attitude as we adopt and elaborate upon the speaker’s arguments The peripheral route is taken if the audience has no particular requirements for the product itself, and is more influenced by contextual cues such as mood or endorsement. The effects are temporary Need for Cognition (AO1):As well as source, message and audience factors in persuasion, the Elaboration-Likelihood model suggests that people with a low need for cognition (they are not inclined towards effortful consideration and analysis when decision-making) are more likely to take the peripheral route, and vice versaThe Elaboration-Likelihood Model (AO2): Need for cognition has been found to correlate with prioritising of quality or quantity of reviews when deciding to purchase a product. In one study, participants were asked to take part in an online shopping study in a virtual shopping mall, having to choose to buy a mobile phone based on Amazon consumer reviews, which differed in terms of quality and quantity. Students also completed a need for cognition measure. Both quantity and quality of reviews positively influenced purchasing intention, however, students with a higher need for cognition placed a greater importance on quality than quantity Need for cognition has also been found to be a relevant factor in real life. Participants were exposed to a central or peripheral smoking risk campaign. Those with a higher need for cognition were more influenced by the central route, and vice versa. It has also been found that when people lack expertise about an issue, they are more likely to take the peripheral route if they are considering a health message. This can explain why health claims unsupported by research findings (e.g. organic food) are often appealing There is evidence to suggest that the influence of the peripheral route is temporary. Researches conducted a study into willingness to help a person with AIDs with a school project. The volunteer rate was 0%. They repeated the study one week after a prominent basketball player's announcement that he had AIDs, and the volunteer rate was 83%. However, after four and a half months, the volunteer rate was back to pre-announcement levels, suggesting that the effect was temporary Often, researchers have only measured intent to buy or attraction to the product as a measure of persuasiveness, however, this may not actually lead to a purchase (attitude is being measured, not behaviour) Explanations for Persuasiveness In Media Cultivation Theory (AO1): Television provides a systematically distorted view of reality. Long-term viewing of these distortions causes viewer's attitudes to become similarly distorted. The theory suggests that the cultivation effect occurs only after long-term, cumulative exposure to television The effect of this on persuasion is that our attitudes are biased about the world around us in favour of the media It has been found that heavy television watchers exaggerate the incidence of violent crime because they have seen so much on television. It is suggested that they would be able to realise where they got this impression from if they were encouraged to think about specific examples, but mostly participants answered quickly without thinking about the source of their impression Agenda Setting/Priming Theory (AO1): Agenda setting: media does not tell us what to think, but it influences what we think about Priming: Media provide a context for public discussion of an issue, setting the stage for audience understanding. Media provide a focus and environment for reporting a story, influencing how audiences will understand or evaluate it. Cultivation Theory (AO2): The theory is correlational and so cannot establish causality. It may be that people who watch the most TV live in areas where there is a considerable amount of crime, for example The theory is essentially descriptive and does not attempt to explain why and how TV distorts watchers' attitudes When factors such as direct experience, age, education and income are controlled, the distortion effects suggested by cultivation theory are still apparent in heavy TV watchers, but the associations are reduced Analysis of TV supports the idea that it portrays a systematically distorted view of the world. Women on TV are typically younger and more attractive than men. The rate of portrayal of crime on TV is 10 times greater than its incidence in the real world. Agenda Setting/Priming Theory (AO2): In a study of news coverage of the 1968 US presidential election, a close correspondence was found between the amount of attention that specific issues received on TV and the importance the public attached to those issues. However, cause and effect have not been established here; it could be that the public's views influenced media coverage The issue of causality was addressed by a study where participants watched newscasts over a period of 1 week. They ranked several issues in order of importance at the start and end of the week. Issues emphasised in the newscasts were perceived as being more important at the end of the week than at the beginning The processes by which these factors lead to persuasion and attitude change have not been explored. The theory is essentially descriptive In TV Advertising Hard Sell vs Soft Sell (AO1): Hard sell advertising focuses on factual information and putting pressure on the customer Soft sell advertising focuses on subtlety, mood creation and putting the customers above the product People who score highly on self-monitoring scales prefer soft sell (they are more image conscious), and vice versa Hard Sell vs Soft Sell (AO2):A meta-analysis of 75 investigations was carried out to determine whether hard sell or soft sell adverts were more persuasive. They found that hard sell techniques were seen as more believable, however, they are also seen as more irritating by being more direct, provocative or confrontational. Soft sell techniques are associated with more positive attitudes towards the product, as they focus on generating positive emotionsProduct Endorsement (AO1):The idea behind product endorsement is that they are a familiar face (meaning they are more likely to be seen as reliable), and that we form parasocial relationships with celebrities, and their opinion backs up the claims of the advertiserProduct Endorsement (AO2): Research on celebrity endorsement suggests it is ineffective. One study found that student participants were more convinced by a TV endorsement from a fictional fellow student that by one from a celebrity (when buying a digital watch). Research into celebrity endorsement has not recognised the difference between different types of celebrity endorsement, for example, explicitly, implicitly, or simply being co-present. Research has not considered how persuasive these types of endorsement are in comparison to each other Children and Advertising (AO1): Meta analyses have shown that there is a strong correlation between age of child and understanding of persuasive intent Advertising is often aimed at younger children so that they pester their parents into buying the product Children and Advertising (AO2): In a study of children's gift requests, it was found that children asked for significantly more presents in America than in Sweden, where TV advertising aimed at under-12s is banned Due to a number of other conflicting factors such as peer pressure and parental mediation, it is impossible to draw a causal link between advertising aimed at children and subsequent behaviour Sex and Violence (AO1):Advertisers believe that 18-34 year olds are best to target as they have less fixed purchasing habits and a disposable income. It is suggested that this age group watches a lot of TV with sex and violence in, so advertisers embed products into programs with high sex and violenceSex and Violence (AO2):In a study, student participants were assigned randomly to watch either a violent, sexually explicit or neutral TV program. Each 45 minute programme was accompanied by 3 commercial breaks, containing 3 violent adverts, 3 sexually explicit adverts and 3 neutral adverts. Participants were then asked to recall the adverts. They were less likely to remember the advertised brands if they had been watching a sexual or violent program, and violent adverts were the least well rememberedCongruence (AO1):Adverts may be better remembered if the product is congruent with the program being shownOther (AO2): A lot of research into TV advertising has been conducted using cinem advertising, or in a lab setting. This cannot be applied to television advertising as in the above situations, the audience is captive. It has been found that 80% of viewers leave the room or switch to a different channel when ad breaks come on To determine how persuasive an advert is, researchers generally measure attitudes towards a product, not whether participants actually buy it. A positive attitude to a product may not lead to a purchase The Attraction of Celebrity Social Psychological Explanations Parasocial Relationships (AO1): This is a relationship in which an individual is attracted to another individual, usually a celebrity, but the target individual is unaware of the existence of the person who has created the relationship These relationships can be appealing because there are no demands made on the individual and there is no risk of rejection or criticism Parasocial relationships are most likely to form if the celebrity is perceived as acting in a believable way, and is seen as attractive and similar to the viewer Parasocial Relationships (AO2): Parasocial relationships have been found to have benefits. Although it is commonly believed that they are formed on the basis of loneliness, research suggests that people who are more socially active are more likely to engage in parasocial relationships. Furthermore, parasocial relationships provide models of social behaviour and an opportunity to learn cultural values. A study found that parasocial relationships with soap opera characters lead to a perceived reduction in uncertainty about social relationships The idea that parasocial relationships exist is supported by explanations of who forms them and why. It has been found that individuals with anxious-ambivalent attachment styles were most likely, and avoidant individuals least likely, to engage in parasocial relationships (anxious-ambivalent attachment is characterised by a concern that others will not reciprocate one's desire for intimacy). Anxious-ambivalent individuals may turn to TV characters to satisfy their unmet and often unrealistic needs. Avoidant individuals find it difficult to develop intimate relationships and so are less likely to seek a parasocial relationship There are methodological issues with research, as the experimental setting may affect perceived attitudes towards celebrities. A study has found that people identify more with media characters in a cinema setting than in a television setting, as they are isolated from everyday reality (as they often are in experimental studies) Unlike the absorption-addiction model, the research into parasocial relationships does not differentiate between different types of celebrity admiration. Therefore, it is an incomplete explanation The Absorption-Addiction Model (AO1): Entertainment-social: People admire celebrities for their entertainment and social value Intense-Personal: Intensive, obsessive and compulsive feelings for the celebrity, however, person is aware that the celebrity is unobtainable Borderline-Pathological: Uncontrollable behaviours, fantasies and delusions. Can lead to the individual believing there is a real relationship between themselves and the celebrity, and can lead to stalking behaviour The Absorption-Addiction Model (AO2): It has been suggested that addiction shown by celebrity worshippers involves excessive identification with their favourite celebrity. This would imply that they don't perceive clear boundaries between themselves and other people, and fail to distinguish between emotion and thoughts. Research supports this: individuals fitting the category of borderline-pathological have been found to have especially weak interpersonal boundaries The model describes, rather than explains, attraction to celebrity. It does not explain how the different levels of attraction to celebrity are formed Social-Psychological Explanations (AO2): Nearly all the research is correlational, so causality cannot be inferred. Intense celebrity worship may alter someone's personality rather than personality contributing to celebrity worship It is assumed that the same processes are involved regardless of the characteristics of the celebrity. It is possible that individuals could be simply attracted to celebrity status, or they could be attracted to certain factors, for example, attractiveness, intelligence or outstanding abilities Evolutionary Explanations Creative Individuals (AO1): Humans are neophilic. For females choosing a mate, this would have lead to a demand for creative displays from potential partners. Sexual selection appears to favour minds prone to creativity and fantasy. Celebrities represent this, so we are attracted to them because of their perceived creativity and association with a world that for most people is fantasy Creative Individuals (AO2): An enzyme has been discovered that correlates with novelty-seeking behaviour. Genetic differences mean that different people produce different variations of this enzyme, MAOA. One form of MAOA is correlated with novelty-seeking tendencies. This suggests there may be a genetic origin for neophilia, and explains individual differences in it, and thus individual differences in types of celebrity worship The theory does not explain why females preferred creative behaviour in males in the first place, or why they preferred creative displays of, for example, musical creativity above displays of creative thinking or logic The theory does not explain why females also display these forms of creativity, since in evolutionary terms, females would have chosen male mates Celebrity Gossip Theory (AO1): It has been suggested that gossip creates bonds within social groups. It serves a similar adaptive function to social grooming in initiating and maintaining alliances The exchange of social information may have also been evolutionarily adaptive, as it could be used to gain information about other group members, such as rivals or potential mates, and to construct and manipulate reputations It is suggested that our minds are fooled into regarding media characters as being members of our own social network, which triggers gossip mechanisms Celebrity Gossip Theory (AO2):A survey of 800 people found that gossip was used to gain information about group members. The higher the media exposure, the more the person engaged in gossip Intense Fandom Research into Celebrity Worship (AO1): Much research into celebrity worship has used the Celebrity Attitude Scale, a 17 item scale with lower scores indicating more individualistic behaviour, and higher scores indication over-identification with celebrities In a study of 372 people aged 18-47 using the CAS, 15% were found to be at the entertainment-social level of celebrity worship, 5% were found to be at the intense-personal level and Developmental Factors (AO1): Celebrity worship has been associated with maladaptive development. In a survey of 833 Chinese teenagers, idol worship was found to be associated with lower levels of work, lower self-esteem and less successful identity achievements. Teenagers who worshiped television idols were worst affected It has also been concluded from other research that celebrity worshippers have lower levels of psychological well-being than other people. Scores of the CAS at the entertainment-social level predicted patterns of social dysfunction and scores at the intense-personal level predicted both anxiety and depression scores Celebrity worship could be a behavioural representation of poor psychological well-being, resulting from failed attempts to cope with the pressure of everyday life Higher levels of celebrity worship have been found in teenagers who are not close to their parents. This links to the idea that attachment types predict level of celebrity worship (however, research has found both support and a lack of support for this) Intense Fandom (AO2): Evolutionary psychologists suggest it is natural for humans to look up to individuals who receive attention because they have succeeded in society. It would once have been evolutionarily adaptive to look up to the most successful in society, however, this evolutionary hangover is no longer beneficial. This explains why such a high percentage of the population is rated as at a stage of celebrity worship Parasocial bereavement demonstrates how celebrity worship can lead to developmental problems by exhibiting the depth to which people become over-involved in the lives of their favourite celebrities. Tributes after the death of Princess Diana revealed people were "taken aback" by the strength of their feelings Celebrity Stalking

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