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How the media influeces society - Research Paper Example

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Name Instructor Class November 30, 2013 Media Effects: Influencing Attitudes and Actions through Modeling, Agenda, and Framing How media affects society has been an interest for media and communication scholars since the “beginning of the twentieth century” (McQuail 9), after the radio and television were subsequently invented and became mass media tools…
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How the media influeces society

Download file to see previous pages... A possible way that can directly measure how exactly the media affect people is through an unethical experiment where the person is exposed to only media and not other sources of possible influence, such as family, religion, education, and other institutions. Despite constraints on determining causal relationships between mass media and social effects, several empirical attempts have been made to understand how media can influence society. Mass media affects society through providing a model for learning behaviors, setting agenda that can affect people’s prioritization of and response to social issues, and framing information that can impact how people understand and react to events and schemas. Mass media influences society by offering models for learning behaviors. Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory can help explain how mass media shapes behaviors. Social Learning Theory states that people learn attitudes and behaviors by “observing and modeling” others (“Social Learning Theory”). Learning is not the same as imitating because learning means that people are not only imitating something, but has absorbed the underlying knowledge and/or skills, as well as values and norms (when present). Mass media can then have positive or negative effects on people by shaping their attitudes and/or behaviors through the social modeling mechanism of learning. One of the most studied and controversial mass media effects is violence, specifically youth violence. Craig Anderson and colleagues surveyed a wide literature of media effects on violence. They stress that, based on their findings, numerous studies with different sampling, methods, and media genres prove that violence in mass media can increase the possibility of aggressive behaviors for the youth in the short-run and/or long run through different ways. Craig et al. state that observational learning can result to children learning “aggressive attitudes and behaviors” from mass media, such as “television and video games” (94). The studies of Bjorkqvist in 1985 on 5 to 6-year olds Finnish kids and Josephson in 1987 on 7 to 9-year old boys provide some evidence that, for their cross-sectional studies with control groups, those who “watched violent films” acted more violently against other children afterwards than those who did not watch violent films (qtd. in Craig et al. 85). Mass media can be argued as affecting these children by providing negative models of violent behaviors, which affected their actions too, at least in the short run. A longitudinal study from Eron et al. show that boys who watched violent TV shows since the age of 8 showed “more violent attitudes” later on in life (qtd. in Craig et al. 87). Mass media can have, based on this study, lasting effects on people’s behaviors too, provided that it is a prevalent and significant presence in a child’s life. These studies indicate that mass media can affect society by teaching harmful models of behaviors. Not all mass media effects on society are negative, nevertheless, because mass media can be programmed to teach pro-social behaviors too, where it can affect society through modeling positive attitudes and behaviors for the youth. Many television and CD/DVD shows, for instance, are geared to teaching children positive social behaviors and new knowledge and skills. Dimitri A. Christakis et al. wanted to know if exposing children to TV shows that teach ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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