Social Learning Theory suggests that we model our behaviour on things we observe. If the observed behaviour has a positive outcome we are more likely to imitate in the hopes af also gaining this positive outcome (vicarious reinforcement). We are also more likely to imitate a high status model. It has been suggested that media influences our behaviour in this way.
Bandura's bobo doll study found that children who watched an adult be aggressive towards a bobo doll were more likely to be aggressive towards it too.
Aggression is considered anti-social as it is outside accepted normal behaviour. It is suggested that violent media desensitizes us and that we may begin to see it as acceptable. It helps us justify our anti-social behaviour, making us more likely to repeat it.
Paik and Comstock did a meta-analysis of over 1000 studies that suggested a strong link between exposure to violent tv and aggressive behaviour. However it found a correlation, not a cause, so there may be other factors.
Sprafkin et al (1975) found that children who had watched a show where a dog was rescued were more likely to spend more time rescuing a dog and less time collecting points in a later game scenario than children who had watched a normal show with animal interaction.
Video Games and Computers
Like other media, video games have certificate ratings. They are seen to be more influential than other types of media due to their interactive nature.
Many people blame video games for the Columbine High School shootings.
Anderson & Bushman (2002) found that participants who had played a violent video game described the main character as being aggressive when asked to finish off the storyline, whereas those who had played a non-violent game didn't.
Research is contradictory.
Evidence has been found for video games and computers having positive effects.
Greitemeyer and Osswald found that playing games with a pro-social theme leads to an increase in pro-social behaviours.
Valkenberg and Peter found that the anonymous nature of social networking encourages relationships and communication in otherwise shy adolescents.
Research tends to focus on short term effects only.
Persuasion and Attitude Change
The Hovland-Yale model suggests a sequential process to change of attitude:
Noticing the message > Understanding the message > Accepting the message > Attitude change
Alternatively, after understanding the message you could reject it and therefore not change your attitude.
He found a set of four components to be most important with persuasion:
The source of the message (trustworthiness, expertise and attractiveness of persuader)
The message content (number, strength, order and emotional appeal of arguments)
The recipient (age, IQ and personality of person being persuaded)
The situation (formality and relevance)
Doesn't address why these factors are important. Also assumes we carry out a careful thought process while others suggest we don't always do this.
Persuasion and Attitude Change
The Elaboration-Likelihood model looks at two seperate processing routes.
The Central route is the one that takes into account the message and its quality. Involves evaluation so usually occurs when someone has the time, motivation and ability to analyse the message. They are more likely to have long term attitude change.
The Peripheral route occurs when someone focuses on the attractiveness of the message and how it is presented. Involves low-level mechanisms and tends to result in a short term attitude change as trends change.
Lacks predictive power.
Tv is used to persuade people in advertising. This can be using pleasant association (classical conditioning), Celebrities (often matched to what is being sold e.g models and beauty products), fear (to persuade people against something e.g anti-smoking adverts), and repetition (to make them more memorable and familiar).
Practical applications in the creation of television adverts.
Psychology of Celebrity
Individuals can form parasocial relationships with a celebrity. The individual knows a lot about the celebrity while the celebrity usually knows nothing about them. Many are also attracted to the idea of being a celebrity.
Evolutionary theory suggests that being a celebrity/being with a celebrity is seen as being an effective way of passing on genes and ensuring reproductive success. This is because becoming a celbrity makes a person more desirable, and gives a huge economic advantage. Also celebrities are often popular because they have desirable traits that many will want their offspring to have as it will give them a more successful life.
Gossip theory (gossip is adaptive - helps keep track and feel in power. De Backer found that the more involved in media the more interest in celebrities) and neophilia (love of novelty - which most celebrities have. More MAOA causes more interest in creative individuals).
Social psychological theory says that we join fandoms (groups of fans of a specific celebrity) to boost our self-esteem, for entertainment and excitement, and for enhanced family and group affiliation. Someone with a greater increase of self-esteem and enjoyment is more likely to find celebrity attractive.
Stages of fandom:
Entertainment-social: Relationship with the celebrity is a source of fun and is shared with others.
Intense-personal: Obsessive thoughts begin to rise e.g they think the celebrity is their soul-mate.
Borderline-pathological: Obsessive thoughts become fully-fledged fantasies and behaviours e.g thinking you are genuinely in a relationship with the celebrity. Can lead to stalking (a level of pursuit considered intimidating and dangerous).
People with high anxiety tend to be related to higher stages of fandom. Could be a coping mechanism.
-Stalking involving a well known person is more likely to be reported therefore it seems like celebrities are more likely to be stalked. Actually, 21% of the population is likely to be stalked.
- Most stalkers have been involved in an intimate relationship with the stalkee.
There have been cases of stalking ending with violence (John Lennon) but most don't end violently.