Prosocial Behaviours

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  • Prosocial Behaviours
    • A01
      • Prosocial behaviours may be due to exposure to the media because a commonly reported statistic is the high prevalence of violent act shown on television.
      • Prosocial behaviours can be explained by acqusition of prosocial behaviours and norms.
        • We learn by observing how to do things and when it is acceptable to do them. The acquisition of prosocial behaviours may be developed through the use of social learning theory.
          • Skinner stated children learn through operant conditioning. An example of this would be altruism where Sparfkin found that young children who watched an episode of Lassie (where a child rescued a dog) were more likely to help puppies in distress than children who hadn't watched it
            • This can be linked to media influences on prosocial behaviour as children are likely to imitate behaviours if they have positive rewards.
      • The effect of television viewing is mediated by the presence of a parent. Austin argued effective mediation involves the parent discussing the programme with the child whilst explaining ambiguous or disturbing material
    • A02
      • A content analysis found 2/3 of children's programmes contained at least one violent act.
      • Some studies in prosocial effects looking at one-shot exposures to a prosocial model found that children are most affected when they are shown the exact steps for positive behaviours such as being shown someone donating tokens.
        • This may be because they can remember concrete acts rather than abstract ones.
      • Fogel examined the effects of watching prosocial sitcoms on children 8-12. Children completed a questionnaire about their normal TV habits then we allocated to one of two conditions.
        • The experimental group took part in a discussion with an adult prior to watching an episode of 'hang time'  and the control group watched it without the discussion.
          • The study found that those in the experimental group who received adult mediation showed improved scores over the control group on prosocial behaviours.
      • Valkenburg suggested that only some forms of parental mediation would be effective in enhancing the prosocial messages in television programmes. They found that in co-social viewing, parent and child may watch together but do not discuss.
        • The type of mediation is largely ineffective as a means of modifying interpreting television.
      • Sesame street was designed with prosocial aims in mind, however, research suggests that counter to the programme's objectives, it was children from higher socio-economic backgrounds who benefited the most
        • This may be due to good parental discussion and explanations
    • Prosocial behaviour is actions intended to benefit others.


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