Media Influences on Social Behaviour

Explanations on Media Influences on Pro- and Anti Social Behaviour. As well as the effects of video games and computers on young people.


Media Influences on Pro Social Behaviour

Explanations of Media Influence

  • Social Learning Theory - The learning of behaviours through observation and various re-inforcement.  
  • Parental Mediation - Research suggests that pro social behaviour is best learned when there is a person present as a co viewer e.g. PG movies.
  • Developmental Factors - suggests that the acquisition of Pro-Social behaviours goes beyond simple exposure, but is linked to children's intellectual and moral developments.
  • Cognitive Priming - When we are cognitively primed, we have underlying behaviours triggered in us.
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Social Learning Theory

Social Learning Theory

  • If we observe pro social behavior, our behaviour is determined by the response to the observed behaviour. We are more likely to imitate this behaviour if:  1.The behaviour is likely to be rewarded or 2. The behaviour is in like with current social norms.
  • Example = Listening to a Michael Jackson album - positive messages 'heal the world' - volunteering

Factors Affecting Social Learning Theory

  • If children are shown the exact steps for pro social behaviour (Mares and Woodward)
  • When pro social behaviour is observed in the classroom and followed with a teacher led discussion

X. Ignores that imitating behaviour is heavily reliant on remembering the behaviour

X. Many programmes look immeadiately after the programme is shown. Research suggests that the effects of a single programme may be short term

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Parental Mediation

Parental Mediation

Austin (1993) - Parental Mediation allows

  • For discussion, whcih aids learning - Explanation of confusing and disturbing aspects of the programme and the relation to real life examples

Key Research: Fogel (2007)

X. Parental Mediation may only be effective if it instructive and based on good quality discussion

X. Valkenburg found that co-viewing, where content was discussed did not always help trigger pro social behaviour

X. This link to parental mediation may only be significant in children from certain socio-econmic backgrounds (ie. those from higher more upper class backgrounds)

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Developmental Factors

Developmental Factors

Older children will have pro skills a younger child may not have

  • Empathy,
  • Moral Reasoning,
  • Awareness of Social Norms
  • Awareness of How to Help Others

As a result it suggests that younger children may not be as influenced by pro-social media as older children.

X. Marres (1996) found that the weakest effects of pro social media was for adolescents and the strongest was for primary school age children

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Cognitive Priming

Cognitive Priming

  • Pro social behaviours in the media may therefore trigger pro-social behaviour in our memory and therefore cause us to behave pro-socially

Key Research: Good News Studies

  • Holloway et al (1977) made participants take part in a study about bargaining
  • Whilst in the waiting room participants were played a news broadcast
  • Participants who heard a broadcast about some good news were more likely to be co-operative when bargaining

Blackman and Harnstein et al, in an extended study found that when asked about human nature at the end of the research, participants who heard the good news broadcast reported a higher proportion of decent and honest people in the world

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