Media Psychology; Pro-Social

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Exposure to pro-social behaviour

  • Greensbery (1980) analysed US TV shows and found that there was an equal number of both pro-social and anti-scoial acts on preschool television
  • Woodard (1999) US TV shows for kids, 77% of them surveyed show pro-social beahviour
  • Under 17's TV, 4 of the top 20 shows showed any pro-scoial content
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Acqusition of pro-social behaviour and norms

  • Social learning theory, learn through observation.
  • May imitate the behaviours and depending on the reaction depends on whether the behaviour is then replicated again.
  • Pro-social acts re more likely to represent already established social norms.
  • Likely to reinforce the already existing soical norms than contrast them.
  • Most effective when show in steps of the positive behaviour
  • Rubienstein and Sparkfin showing teenagers who were admitted to a psychiatric, post-viewing of a discussion led to decreased altursim.
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Developmental factors

  • Einsberg (1990) pro-social behaviours develop through childhood
  • Younger children are influenced more than teenagers
  • Meta-analysis showed that the weakest effects was for teenagers
  • Pre-school childrens effects was intermediate
  • More likely to be affected through expereince than through media
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Parental Mediation

  • Austin (1993) effective mediation invovles the parent discussing the content of the show with the child and then further discussing any good or bad behaviours
  • Rosenketter (1999) effective mediation means that kids as young as seven are then able to understand the most complex sitcoms
  • Valkenbury (1999) only some forms of parental mediation are effective
  • Social-co-veiwing is shown to be largley in effective as the behaviours are not explained to the child
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Research studies for pro-social behaviours


  • Poulous (1975) children who watched lassie were more likely to help a puppy in distress then those who had not watched the programme

Self Control

  • Friecrich and Stein studied four year olds who watched Mister Rogers over a period of time, they were mor eliekly to show task persistence and obidence

Positive Interaction

  • Children who watched pro-social content were more likely to behaviour in a freindly way when playing with friends



  • Children who watched Freestyle showed less stereotypical behaviours and beliefs, especially with sex typings.


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