2 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Orson Welles: The War of the WorldsOnly certain personality types were affected:Emotionally insecure, phobic, lacking self-confidence, fatalistsLed social scientists to investigate these “narrow effects”? If it was true for WotW, then could it be true for all media – limited effects was born.Tied in well with fears surrounding propagandaNeo-Marxist (critical-cultural) and LimEff battled
3 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … LE was developed by methodologists in 40s & 50sWe focus on Paul Lazarsfeld and Carl Hovland
4 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Lazarsfeld & HovlandDid not assume the power of media, wanted to prove it empiricallyif media’s power could be understood then it could be controlled or harnessed for good.Believed that the society with the best scientists would also have the best democracyFound that Media influences were much less powerful than SES (socio-economic status)
5 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Factors that led to limited effectsThe refinement of and respect for empirical methods.Successful branding of mass society /propaganda models as unscientificBig commercial potentialStrong gov’t & private backers (NSF, Rockefeller)Media corps started their own research deptsGained interdisciplinary acceptance.
6 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Two-Step Flow TheoryAn inductive theory:data/observations first, generalizations secondLed to middle-range theory:empirical generalizations based on a empirical factsUnlike “grand” social TOE’s: Mass Society/Propaganda
7 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Presidential election of 1940 FDR vs Wendell WillkieOne of the largest LE studies everChose Sandusky, Ohio for its averagenessChose a panel of 600 who were interviewed seven times from May until NovemberUsed a long questionnaire that focused on speech effectiveness (radio was prevalent mode of Mass Comm)
8 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Findings were telling because they led to voter typingEarly Deciders: chose a candidate in May and never changedWaverers: chose one candidate then were undecided or switched, but ended up voting for their first choiceConverts: chose one candidate but then switched and voted for his opponent (ideological conversion)Crystallizers: did not choose early, but choose by e-day. Their choice were predictable along certain vectors (party affiliation, farm or not, etc.)
9 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … These findings directly conflicted with propaganda theory predictionsLazarsfeld concluded that mass media reinforced the voters’ choices.People were not converted by media. Rather they were “cross-pressured” (i.e. religion, friendship bonds, kinship)
10 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Generalizations that Lazarsfeld came up withGatekeepers: people who screen messages and pass on those messages and help other share their viewsOpinion leaders: people who pass info on to opinion followersOpinion followers: passive receivers of info from opinion leadersTwo step flow: message pass from media to opinion leaders then to opinion followers
11 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Limitations to Lazarsfeld MethodSurveys are not “real time”Surveys are expensive and cumbersomeVery conservative in terms of media effectsProduced contradictory results (i.e. was contextual to type of info transmitted)Surveys are crude: only take a gross measurementSurveys omit important things because the researcher must choose what to includeTheory ignores the effects of historical context at the time.
12 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Great Contributions of Limited Effects TheoryMedia rarely directly influence individualsThere is a two-step flow of media influenceBy adulthood, people have developed strong group commitmentsMedia effects, when they do occurs, are modest and isolated.
13 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Motivations for Attitude-Change theorySuccess of Nazi propaganda challenges American’s optimism about the people’s wisdomThe military needed methods to quickly induce bonding among the diverse thousands who signed up from varied geo and cultural locationsPsychologists saw a readily available and controlled subject pool.
14 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Karl Hovland used controlled variation to assess the strength of elements of propagandaWhy did Why we fight (Frank Capra) fail?Propaganda did not have an immediate effect rather it required a cultivated audience.Time was a major factor in propaganda effectivenessOne-sided arguments were effective with people already in favour of the message,Two sided arguments worked better with the undecided.
15 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … The Communication Research Program (Yale)High credibility communicators increased attitude changeFear-arousing appeals worked, but depended on the experiences and knowledge of the participantsIndividual differences research: your personal attributes make you more or less susceptible to persuasion.High intelligence = high persuasability
16 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Mass Comm Research & Media EffectsIndividual Differences: people differ so media messages must contain specific elements to appeal to specific personality typesSocial categories: people who belong to well-defined social categories will respond to media messages in a coherent fashion
17 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Cognitive consistency: people seek out and believe messages that are consistent with the values and beliefs of those around themCognitive dissonance (Festinger): information inconsistent with people’s beliefs create discomfort
18 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Selective Processes: exposure (attention), retention, and perceptionSelective exposure: people tend to expose themselves to messages they feel are familiarSelective retention: people remember messages best that are in sync with their worldviewSelective perception: people will believe what they want to believe, altering the meaning of messages to suit themselves.
19 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Limitations of the experimental persuasion researchExperiments were conducted in labs in controlled environmentsExperiments have opposite problems from surveys (i.e focus on immediate effects, not long-term)Conservative about assessing media influence: eliminated key factors such as convos pre/post TV watchingExperiments are crude for studying long-term media effectsMany variables that are hard to explore in experminents
20 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Information Flow Theory1950s saw a rise in interest of how messages flow from media organizations to audiencesBased on the idea that maximizing how well-informed citizens are will improve democracyHard News (politics, science, world events, community organizations): people did not partake much and learned littleSoft News (sports, life, gossip, entertainment): partook a lot and learned much
21 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … The trick to making information flow theory work is embed soft ideas into hard news. These act as hooks making people pay attention to the hard facts (Colbert Report)Limitations: Info-flow is a simplistic, linear, source-dominated theory.
22 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Klapper’s phenomenistic theoryArgued that researchers exaggerated the effects of mediaMass comm does not serve as a cause of audience effects, rather functions through a nexus of mediating factors and effectsThese factors lend mass comm a reinforcing power – exaggerating already held beliefs and existing trends
23 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Elite pluralismThis theory came of the desire to understand Lazarsfeld’s opinion leader observation.Most audience members are apathetic, but they listen to opinion leaders, who are well-informedThis is in contradiction to libertarian theoryElite: a small number of opinion leadersPluralism: a diversity of groups
24 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … C. Wright Mills and the Power EliteDemocratic theorists disdained elite pluralismThey felt it was just reflective of current trends and did not offer a hope for a return to libertarian democracyMills’ book raised lots of interesting questionsIf elite pluralism was true, why were black and religious minority elites not powerful?
25 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Major Generalizations of Limited Effects Perspective:Role of mass media is limited, it mostly reinforces existing trendsRole is limited in people’s lives, tends to be positive, can be negative in certain pathological cases (personality dis., addicts)The role of mass media is overwhelmingly positive
26 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Drawbacks of Limited Effects PerspectiveSurvey and experimental research are very limited methodologicallySystematically excluded certain effects for fear of spurious effectsToo large of a focus on immediate effects. Very little focus on long-term effects
27 Ch 6: Rise of Limited-Effects … Contributions of Limited EffectsSupplanted Mass Society theoriesPrioritized empirical observation and downgraded speculative forms of theory constructionProvided a framework for research in universities and colleges in the 50s and 60s
28 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Functionalism: a theoretical approach that conceives of social systems as living organisms whose various parts work, or function, together to maintain essential processesCommunication Systems Theory: the mass media as a series of parts that work together to meet a goalSocial cognitive theory: theory of elarnign through interaction with the environment that involves reciprocal causation of behaviour, personal factors and environmental effects
29 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Theories of the Middle Range and the Functional Analysis (Merton, 1967, p. 45):consist of limited sets of assumptions from which specific hypotheses are logically derived and confirmed by empirical investigationdo not remain separate but are consolidated into wider networks of theorysufficiently abstract to deal with differing spheres of social behaviour & social structure; transcend sheer descriptioncuts across the distinction between micro-sociological problemsInvolves the specification of ignorance
30 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Merton was value-neutral: he did not divide the world into “us and them” bad guys and good guysMerton promoted the cumulative nature of small, limited-effects studies that were empirically groundedManifest functions: intended and observed consequences of media useLatent functions: unintended and less easily observed consequences of media use
31 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Merton’s Four Functions of the Media:Surveillance of the environmentCorrelation of the parts of society in responding to the enivromentTransmission of the social heritage from one generation to the next (oral culture)Entertainment
32 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Narcotizing dysfunction: as news about an issue inundates people, they become apathetic to it, substituting knowing about the issue for action on it.
33 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Mendelsohn’s Mass Entertainment theory:The relaxing and entertaining properties of TV serve a vital social function.Some very few become addicted, but most are happily pacified and removed from the daily tension of worklifeTypical of Functionalist theory: some functions are good, some are bad, but they are balanced in the organism, like toxins and vital elements in a body.Researchers found that they could combine LE findings to come up with a functionalist middle-range theoryTelevision and the Lives of Our Children (1961): TV made some kids violent, but most were simply pacified.
34 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… The Rise of Systems TheoriesSystem: consists ofa set of parts that are interlinked so that changes in one part induce changes in other partsCybernetics: the study of regulation and control in complex systemsFeedback loops: ongoing mutual adjustments in systemsCommunication systems: systems that function primarily to facilitate communication
35 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Modeling SystemsModel: any representation of a system, whether in words or a diagramGoal-orientation: characteristic of a system that serves a specific overall or long-term purposeSystems models can be adapted to human communication ( , internet use, etc.)In mass comm, systems models replaced the linear transmission model of Lasswell
36 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Criticisms of FunctionalismHumanists dislike the mechanistic and biological analogies used in systems theoryDo not focus on traditional views of causality because functional systems are not linearAre biased towards the status quo because of their basis in description and empiricism
37 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… TV changed the global mediascape in at the World’s Fair in New York TV occurred simultaneously with big changes in USA societyWWII made USA more urbanShift work and regularly scheduled jobsHad more leisureMore regular incomes to spend on leisureNon-Caucasian fought in WWII and demanded share of American DreamWomen permanently entered the workforcePeople moved away from small towns and traditional influences, like church and school diminished in importance.New demographic because of the baby boom: the Teenager!
38 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… More changes:Crime waves,JFK, RFK, MLK assassinationsCivil rights & Anti-Vietnam WarWeathermen & Black PanthersYoung people behaving oddly: weird music and taking drugsGeneration gap was observed
39 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Media’s role in these changes was hotly debatedTV and film became the subject of many investigationsSurgeon General Scientific Advisory Committee on Television and Social Behaviour was founded in 1969
40 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Television Violence TheoriesCatharsis: viewing violence is enough to sate or reduce people’s natural aggressive drivesThis theory doesn’t really hold generally: people who watch video sex don’t have diminished sex driveAristotle used catharsis to explain the effects of Greek tragedy, so the argument from the tradition was used for TVFinal finding: showing representations of violence can reduce violent behaviour, but because of learning – not catharsis.
41 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Humans learn from observation (although cognitivism denies this)Imitation: we learn by direct reproduction of others’ behavioursIdentification: a special form of imitation that springs from wanting to be like an observed model relative to some broader characteristics or qualities (thin like Cindy Crawford, hip like Angeline Jolie, tough/sensitive/rugged like Brad Pitt)Social learning: encompasses both imitation and identification to explain how people learn through observation of others in their environments
42 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Social Cognition from Mass MediaOperant learning theory: learning occurs only through the making and subsequent reinforcement of behaviourBehavioural repertoire: learned responses available to an individual in a given situationNegative reinforcer: particular stimulus whose removal, reduction or prevention increases the probability of a given behaviour over timeModeling: acquisition of behaviour through observation
43 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Social Cognition from Mass Media (cont)Observational effects: when the observation of a behaviour is enough to learn that behaviourInhibitory effects: the effects of seeing a model punished for a behaviour, reducing the likelihood of the observer reproducing the behaviourDisinhibitory effects: model rewarded for an aggressive or prohibited behaviour, increasing the likelihood observer will engage in the behaviour
44 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Social Cognition from Mass Media (cont)Vicarious reinforcement: reinforcement that is observed rather than is directly experiencedReinforcement contingencies: the value, positive or negative, associated with a given reinforcerBehavioural hierarchy: the likelihood that we will engage in a particular behaviour.
45 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Aggressive Cues: information contained in media portrayals of violence that suggests (or cues) the appropriateness of aggression against specific victimsBoxer example: boxer got shocked more oftenTwo observations:Viewers’ psychological state can lead them to respond to cues in programs that meet the needs of that stateViewers who see justified violence see it as a good or useful problem-solving device (disinhibition)Aggressive cues research is supported by priming effects research
46 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Bandura’s summary of so-coggie findings:Reward/Punishment: rewarded aggression is more frequently modeled (disinhibitory); punished aggression is less frequently modeled (inhibitory).Consequences: mediated violence accompanied by portrayals of negative or harmful consequences produces less modeling (inhibitory).Motive: motivated media aggression produces greater levels of modeling, and unjustified media violence results in less viewer aggression. Viewers are cued to the appropriateness of using aggression.
47 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Bandura’s summary of so-coggie findings contRealism: especially with boys, realistic media violence tends to produce more real-world aggression.Humor: because it reduces the seriousness of the behaviour, humourously presented media violence elads to the greater probability that viewers will behave aggressively in real life.Identification with media characters: the more viewers identify with media characters (like themselves or attractive models) the more likely it is that they will model the behaviours demonstrated by those characters.
48 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Active Theory of Television Viewing: View of TV consumption that assumes viewer comprehension causes attention and, therefore, effects or no effectsViewing Schema: interpretational skills that aid people in understanding media content conventionsActive-audience theories: put a focus on assessing what people do with media, these are audience-centered theories
49 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Developmental perspective: the view of learning from media that specifies different intellectual and communication stages in a child’s life that influence the nature of media interaction and impact.Jean Piaget – argued that children, as they move from infancy to adolescence have different cognitive abilities avail. to them.
50 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Video Games Reignite interest in media violenceThere has been a shift away from TV toward video game researchKaiser Family Foundation study revealed that more than eight out of ten young people have a game console at home, half have one in their bedroom
51 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Four major reasons why video games are of research interest:Amount of game play kids engage inPresence of video games in high-profile high school shootings (Columbine/Jonesboro)Video games’ interactivity: gamers are actors, not viewersSheer brutality of many video games
52 Ch. 7: Beyond Limited Effects: Focus on Functionalism and Children… Media & Children’s SocializationEarly Window theory: media allow children to see the world before the have the skill to successfully act in itThis is particularly powerful for gender learningAdvertising, junk food and obesity: most ads are for candy and snacks – leads to a desire to consume theses instead of healthy alternatives.