AQA PSYA4 Media Psychology

revision cards for media topic


Attitude Change

Hovland-Yale model

Carl Hovland based at Yale university, investigated the effect of propaganda during WWII

found a sequential model of attitude change based on 'who says what to whom'

who = source

says what = message

whom = audience

4 stage model:

Attention -> Comprehension -> Reactance -> Attitude change

Factors affecting attitude change

Credibility, physical apperance, speed of speech, content, fear, audio-vusial, self esteem & similiarity

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+ source factors -> Morton & Campbell

- effect of information source on peers attitude towards unfamiliar child with autism, 

- pp's received information from different sources e.g teacher, parent and doctor

- more favourable attitude induced when information came from a doctor -> more credible

+ Audience factors -> Lagartu et al

- tested idea that an effeicent way to deal with low involvement is to make the message entertaining

- used fictional storied to illustrate HIV/AIDS prevention

- found the better the quality of story the more cognitive processing was induced and more favourable attitudes created

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+ role of fear -> Meyerwitz & Chaiken

- femail uni students randomlly allocated to one of 3 conditions

loss condition -> emphasis on dangers of failing to self examine

gain condition -> emphasis on positive consequences of self examination

neutral condition -> niether type of info, general facts about breast cancer

- all interviewed after 4 months, found that the group exposed to fear (loss condition) had the greatest attitude change

-> sample bias -> only females, however only really relevant to them -> men can get breast cancer but not as common

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Attitude Change


dual process model -> central & peripheral

careful and rational thinking = central

limited information, cognitive miser =  peripheral


taken when the message is personally important, high need for cognition, focus on quality of argument

= longer lasting attitude change


takes when the message is less personally important, cognitive miser (jump to conclusions), focus on contextual cues

= transent attitude change

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evidence for 2 routes of persuasion

+ need for cognition -> Haugtvedt et al

central route more effective fof high need for cognition pp's

persuasion in high NC pp's based on evaluation of product attributes

low NC based on peripheral cues

+ real life application -> Vidrine et al

showed its relevance in real life smoking campaign

students were exposed to either fact or emotion based campaign

those with high NC influenced more by fact based campaign

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Explanations of effectiveness of TV in persuasion

Hard vs Soft sell

hard sell = presenting factual information about the product (central route)

soft sell = using subtle and creative persuasive techniques (peripheral route)

Product Endoresement

Giles, suggested that celebrities provide us with a familiar face that we feel we can trust because of the parasocial relationships we build up with the celebrity

Celebrities are seen as a neutral source of information

However Hume said that celebrity endoresement does not increase the persuasive communication of the advert

Children and advertising

Martin, meta analysis, found a strong positive correlation between age and understanding of persuaive intent 

-> older they get the more they understand and trust adverts less

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product endorsement

does it work?? -> Martin et al, found that student pp's were more influenced by their peers rather than a celebrity when buying a digital camera

impact of advertising -> Comstock & Scharrer, found that 80% of viewers left the room or fast forward adverts

adverts only effective when there is a captive audience e.g. in a cinema

Children and adverising

pester power -> Pine & Nash, studied chrismas gift requests in US and Sweden, in Sweden advertising aimed at under 12's is banned. Found that they had significanlty lower gift requests that kids in America

-> peers have found to be a significant factor in persuasion -> hard to find one causal factor between exposre to adverts and subsequent consumer buying behaviour

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Media Influences on antisocial behaviour

Huesman & Moise, concluded from their research that there are 5 main ways media violence may lead to aggressive behaiour in children:

1) Observational learning & Imitation

children observe the actions of media characters and imitate the behaviour, more likely to occur if they admire them and they identify with the model

The more real they percieve the behaviour to be, the more they believe the characters are real so more likely to imitate the behaviour exhibited


+ Philips, observed crime statistics 10 days after a televised boxing match and found are significant rise in the number of murders but found no such rise after the superbowl

-> just a coincidence??

+ Badura's Bobo doll studies support the view that children imitate aggressive behaviour 

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2) Cognitive Priming

Media violence activates existing aggressive thought and feelings, frequent exposure leads to strored scripts which may later be triggered, makes the violent behaviour more likely


+ Josephson, hockey players deliberatly frustrated, shown a violent or non violent film where the actor held a walkie talkie, in a later match the ref was holding a walkie talkie, those who watch the violent film played more aggressively

-> walker talkie acted as the trigger for aggressive behaviour

3) Desensitisation

violence represented as 'normal' -> get used to seeing screen violence, become less aware of consequences, children percieve aggressive behaviour as acceptable


- Cumberbatch, suggested that getting used to screen violence doesn't mean they will get used to it in the real world, suggested it will make them more frightened rather that frightening 

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4) Lowered Physiological Arousal

Avid watchers of TV violence show lower arousal -> don't react to violence in a normal way, become less inhibited about using violence


- Exctiation transfer model -> media violence creates a readiness to act agressively, transfer aggression to different situations

- cartharsis -> watching TV violence causes a release of emotions

5) Jusitfication

Violent TV may provide a jusitifcation to act aggressively, unpunished violence decreases concern about its consequences


Liss & Reinhart, suggested the aggressive behaviours exhibited by pro social characters provides a moral justification for their violence

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Media influences on pro social behaviour


clear evidence of prosocial content on TV -> Greenberg, analysed children programmed in the US and found an equal number of pro and antisocial acts in ab hour


-/+ Woodard, surveyed programmes for preschool children, 77% contained at least one prosocial lesson, howver only 4 of the top 20 most watched contained prosocail lessons

- Kunkel et al, content analysis, found 2 thirds of chiden programmes sampled contained at least one act of violence

Acqusition of pro social norms and values

Major claim of the social learning theory -> learn through obsevation and imitation, pro social acts more likely to represent social norms e.g. manners -> therefore more likely to rewarded


+ Johnson & Ettema, largest effect found when viewed in a classroom and followed up by a teacher led discussion

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Developmental Factors

research suggests skills linked to prosocial behaviour develop throughout childhood (Eisenberg), expect developemental differences in degree to which children on different ages are influenced by prosocial acts on TV -> young children less affected??


- Mares, meta analysis, found weakest effect more adolescent and strongest affect for primary school children -> adolescents tend to be more rebellious

Parental Mediation

Austin argued effective mediation involves the parent discussing the programme with the child and explaining key concepts, 2 types; instructive and co-viewing


+ Klosterkotter, parental mediation as enabled children as young as 7 to understand complex moral messages contained in adult sitcoms

- vulkenberg, argued that only certain form of parental mediation e.g instructive mediation are effective

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Research into affects of media on pro social behav


Poulos et al, young children who watched an episode of lassie were more likely to help a puppy in distress than those who watched a neutral programme

Self Control

Freidrich & Stein, found that children who watch Mr Rodgers neighboughood demonstrated more obedience to rules and task persistance than those who watched aggressive cartoons

Positive Interaction

Freidrich & Stein, observers watched children at play, counting the number of agressive and positive acts, those who watched pro social programme behaved more positively towards each other

Anti stereotyping

Johnston & Ettema, 7000 9-12 year olds watched freestyle which aims at reducing sex role stereotypes, after 13 weeks there were moderate positive effects which featured counter stereotypes

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Effects of video games

Positive effects

Gee, empowers learners, develop problem solving skills, help understanding and encourage independent thinking

Kestenbaum & Wienstein, playing games has a calming effect and helps manage conflict, discharge aggression by allowing open expression of competition

Negative effects

physical -> Funatsuka, provoke epileptic seizures

Mathews et al, short term effect on the functioning of different parts of the brain, 44 pp's randomly assigned to violent or non violent game, MRI scan to see brain activity, found violent game increased activity in amygdala which regulates inhibition, self control and concentration.

Behavioural -> Anderson & Bushman, meta analysis, measured effects of exposure to violent games on 5 variables, found short term exposure to video game violence was significantly associated with temporary increases in aggression

Lin & Lepper, found impulsiveness & aggression related to frequency of computer game use

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psychosocial -> Grusser et al, surveyed 7000 gamers and found that 12% were classified as addicted according to the WHO criteria

Shotton, survey in the UK of gamers who were classified as addicted for the last 5 years, found that those who were addicted were highly intelligent, motivated and high achieving people, a follow up 5 years later showed that a high number had done well educationally,went on to university and had high ranking jobs.

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Attraction of celebrity

Parasocial relationships

an individual is attracted to another individual, but the target individual is unaware of the existence of the person who has created the relationship

parasocail relationships are appealing because there are few demands and no risk of rejection or receiving criticism

Schippa et al, said that they are more likely to form if they are seen as attractive and similar to the viewer


commonly thought that they are dysfunctional (based on loneliness) -> Schippa et al, found that loneliness was not a predictor of parasocail relationships ->Sood & Rodgers, people who are more socially active and motivated more likely to from this relationship

+ Social benefits -> media characters provide us with models of social behaviour and an opportunity to learn cultural values

-> Perse & Rubin, looked at parasocail relationships with soap opera characters, found that due to the fact that people are exposed to the same characters over and over again, a benefit is a perceived reduction on uncertainty about social relationships

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Absorption addiction model

Maltby et al, identified 3 levels in peoples attraction to celebrity:

entertainment - social = celebrities seen as a source of entertainment and social interaction, keep up with news about them e.g read magazines

intense - personal = individuals have intense and impulsive feelings e.g. considering a celebrity to be your sole mate

Borderline - pathological = uncontrollable fantasies and form of extreme behaviour e.g. turning up at their house


Maltby et al, used the Eyesnick personality questionnaire to assess relationship between level of celebrity worship and personality, found ES level associated with extroversion, IP associated with neuroticism (related to anxiety and depression)

-> explains why higher levels are associated with poor mental health 

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Intense Fandom

Celebrity Worship

defined by the way its measured -> using the Celebrity attitude scale (CAS) (Maltby used this scale to produce the 3 levels of parasocail relationships)


Maltby et al, found that in a sample of 372 people aged 18-47

15% were at the entertainment social level

5% at intense personl

2% at borderline pathological

-> - what about the other 78% -> they not attracted to celebrities??

Cheung & Yue, telephone study of 833 chinese teenagers, celebrity worship linked to lower level of study, low self esteem and less successful identity achievement

Maltby et al, data from 307 UK adults identified scores on the intense personal subscale, predicted both depression and anxiety

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Cheung & Yue, teenagers who worship key family members or teachers tend to have high self esteem and educational achievement then those who worship celebrities

-> this is because they have more tangible benefits and inputs into their lives whereas they only have a parasocial relationship with celebrities

Philips, high profile celebrity suicides often followed by an increase in number of suicides among the general population e.g. Marilyn Monroe, UK and USA saw 363 more suicides that average

Sheridan et al, pathological worshippers often drawn to more entertaining and antisocial celebrities, therefore expect fans of more rebellious celebrities to seek and emulate the behaviour -> has negative consequences for worshipper

evolutionary explanation:
1) Availability of partners -> celebrities have higher status = attract more potential mates, enhances reproductive sucess

2) cultural immortality -> become celebrity to pass on genes in another from e.g. songs

3) Gossip -> following celebrities gives you useful day to day information about potential hazards in the social environment 

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Intense Fandom

Celebrity Stalking

repeated attempts to impose unwanted contact or communication on another person (celebrity)

2 types:

1) develop a 'love obsession' with a celebrity they have never met, have delusional thought patterns

2) develop a 'simple obsession', distinguished by previous personal relationship that existed between the stalker and victim before the stalking behaviour began


modern technology created a new medium for stalking behaviour e.g. sending unwanted texts or emails

people have the advantage of anonymity as there is no face to face contact with the victim, less worried about consequences

Fisher, surveyed 4000 female undergraduates and found 13% had been cyberstalked

Finn, of these 15% had received emails or instant messages that were insulting, harassing or threatening

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impact of stalking -> Dressing et al, found that 11.5% of respondants to a postal survey in Germany had been victims of a stalker, many said it had changed their lives:

44% increased anxiety

41% had sleep disturbances

28% developed depression

attachment style -> Tonin, measured stalkers retrospective childhood attachment style and their current style, compared to control group, found that stalkers had more insecure attachments

perceptions of cyberstalking -> Alexy et al, gave students a brief description of a study that ended in prosecution, only 30% of students judged the behaviour as stalking behaviour 

-> suggests its not taken seriously compared to other forms of stalking

evolutionary theory -> attention to high profile members (celebrities) can have survival advantage if we learn their behaviour, in order to imitate their behaviour we need access to it, this leads to stalking behaviour

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Slide 14 is incomplete please try to only upload completed resources.

Thank you,

Megan (moderator)

Jo Cole


Your revision notes are really good and soooo helpful thankyou very much!!! :) and good luck for monday!!!

Lauren Bushby


These are brilliant, thank you so much!

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