Media Psychology

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Pro - social Behaviour studies

Smith et al(2006)- analysed the content of 18 american televison channelss , they fount that 73% of the programmes featured some pro social behaviour 

Sprafkin et al(1975)- showed infant school children an  episode of lassie where the charater rescues a puppy and a neutral episode. They found that when presented with distresed puppies the children where rated to be more helpful towards the puppies if they had seen the puppy rescue

Howard and Roberts(2002)- observed toddlers watching the teletubbies. they where observed smiling at viewing companions, pointing at the screen and talking to the teletubbies.toddlers learn about the nature and cause and effect of different emotions from media characters and often experience empathy with them.

Sprafkin et al (1975)-  conducted a content analysis of US childrens broadcasting, they found that on average there were 11 alturisitc acts and 6 sympathetic behaviours per hour.However real life prosocial acts often appeared in the context of antisocial behaviour

Reinhardt(1979)- highlights the issue of pro and anti social behaviours and anti- social acts in the same programme. They found an increase in aggressive behaviour in children who had watched the cartoon series" Superfriends"

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Research on Anti Social Behaviour

Bushman(1995) Karate Kid Study-  Randomly assigned students watched 15 minutes of either Karate Kid III or a Non violent gorillas in the mist. All students then played a computer game against an opponent. If they won then they could punish the opponent by blasting an unpleasant noise into their headphones. Students who had watched Karate Kid had deliverd a longer and louder noise compared to the control group.

Liebert and Baron(1972)-  Randomly assigned children to watch either a violent episode or a non violent sports event. the children were observed playing.Those in the violent condition were assessed as behaving  more aggressively than the non violent conditon. 

Leyens et al (1975)- Adolesecent boys from a correctional home for young offenders were studies. Boys were split into two groups. One group watched a violent film and the other watched non violent films for a week.The boys who watched violent films displayed more aggressive behaviour the following week compared to boyes who watched non violent videos.

Joy (Canadian study)-  the researcher examined the change in childrens aggression levels after TV was introduced. Physical and Verbal aggression were found to have increased

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Evaluation of research on Anti Social behaviour

  • Major studies only tell us about the short term effects of media influences on anti social behaviour
  • Milarvsky et al (1982)- found a small association between betwen viewing violent televison and levels of aggression. they concluded that the infuence of violent televison was extremely weak compare to the family and social enviornment
  • ther was little evidence that exposure to televison violence led to anti social behaviour.
  • Eron (1972)- reported that the amount of televison viewed at age 8 was psitevely correlated tieh aggresssive behaviour in 10 years time
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Effects Of Computer and Video Games

Sims and Mayer(2002)- found that computer games can improve certain cognitive skills e.g. Visuo spatal and attentional skills. Attentional skills can be measured using a visual research task. they found that participants who had spent up to 5 hours a week playing video games (VGP's) could more readily identify targets in a cluttered feild than NVGP's)

Mellecker et all(2008) found that children who played active computer games such as Wii or Kinect had higher heart rates and used up more energy than seated computer games or watching TV.

Athough dozens of studies haveb doccumented a relationship between violent video game snad aggressive behaviours, very little attention has been pained to potential effects of pro social games

Japanese children and adolecents,prosocial game play predicted later increses in prosocial behaviour.However the questionarres were used to assess games played and prosocial behavior. P's may therefore have exaggerated thiet pro- social behavior due to social desirability. 

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Effects Of Computer and Video Games Pt 2

Gentile (2004) suggests that children who have existing aggressive predisposition are more likey to be influenced. Anderson's (2000) General Aggression Model suggests that individual differences such as provocation to determine how an individual will react to playing violent video games.The GAM therfore helps to explain diffrences in vulnerability to playing computer games

Exposure to games is said to increase aggression through 3 possible pathways:

  • Physiological arousal-n increaed heart rate/blood pressure may lead to aggressive behaviour if the opportuinity arises 
  • Cognitons- violent video game may lead to priming of aggresive thoughts 
  • Affective- violent video games mey increase aggresive moods/feelings

Markey et al (2007) found support fot the GAM.they found that angry P's wrote meore violent stories.

Anderson found evidence that violence games desensetize P's to real violence. they foudn thet p's who had played violent video games had a lower heart rate and galvianc skin responce when exposed to real violence. This shows that they had been desensetised. this study is a good example of a higligh controlled lab experiement which enables cause and effect to be established.

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Hovland -Yale Model

Developed int he 50's by carl hovland at yale univeristy, Hovland agrued that we can understand attiude change by considering it as a sequential process.


  • Attention - in order to be persuaded ,an individual must notice the attempt to persuade them 
  • Comprehension - recipent must understand what is being said 
  • Reactance - the indivisual will react to the message 
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