explanations of media influences on prosocial behaviour-cognitve priming

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Media psychology
Explanations of media influences on prosocial behaviour- cognitive priming
AO1 (describe)
Cognitive priming is when a stimulus in the environment activates a script in our
memory which makes behaviours linked to that script more likely to occur.
Therefore if a child watches lots of prosocial programs, thus viewing lots of
helpful individuals, their altruism script is activated which makes it more likely
that they will help others.
AO2 (evaluate)
Produced support for the cognitive priming effect of the impact of good news.
They invited participants into their laboratory for an experiment. While they
were waiting in the waiting room one group of participants listened to appositive
news story on the radio. The only group just sat in the waiting room. All
participants were told that they would be taking part in a study involving
bargaining with another participant (who was actually a stooge). Those who had
heard to positive news story were much more likely to be cooperative in their
However this study was a lab experiment so was very artificial therefore the
results will lack ecological validity as they cannot be applied to real life.
But because the study involved a lab experiment we can be sure that the results
are due to the positive news story and not some other confounding variable,
therefore the results are more likely to be accurate and not biased.
Another study found that similar findings to Holloway's original study but these
were especially the case if the news story involved the account of someone who
intentionally gave help.
However this study only involved male participants and only measured a short term
effect which means that the results can only be applied to males in the short term.
Also, the participants pro social actions were different to those in the news story
which suggests that the news story activated the participants when they were
given the opportunity to behave prosaically.
Blackman and Hornstein
The replicated Holloway's study but also asked participants to rate their beliefs
about human nature at the end of the investigation. Participants who had listened

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Media psychology
to the positive news story indicated they believed the world to have a higher
proportion of decent and honest people than those who didn't hear the positive
news report.…read more


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