Media - Prosocial and Antisocial behaviour

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  • Created on: 27-05-15 19:00

Antisocial behaviour

Children spend more cumulative time watching TV than going to school, and many children have a tv and/or laptop in their own room, allowing unmonitored viewing.

Smith & Donnerstein (1998) - TV programmes have overwhelmingly anti-social content including humour about violence, attractive violent role models and no negative repercussions for violence.

Huesmann et al (2003) - longitudinal study, measured physical aggression of adults exposed to violent TV 15 years before. Controlled for socio-economic status, IQ, parental education and initial levels of aggressiveness. Found a strong positive correlation between two measures.

There are 2 broad types of explanation for the effect of media on anti-social behaviour. These are:

  • Explanations of situational (or short term) effects.
  • Explanations of socialisation (or long term) effects.
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Situational Exp. 1 – Excitation Transfer

Zillman (1969) - Any media message that creates generalised emotional arousal (eg. Sport, humour, suspense, sex) can influence subsequent behaviour by intensifying subsequent emotional states.

Effects can also be longer term – frequent exposure to anti-social media  followed by anger provoking events can feed into self-image.

Donnerstein & Berkowitz (1981) - showed male university students a film containing either sex and violence, a non-violent sex film or a neutral film.

The men were then given an opportunity to give a woman who had angered them earlier, electric shocks. Those men who had viewed the violent sex film gave the most intense electric shocks.

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Situational Exp. 2 – Cognitive Priming

Aggressive cues can trigger aggressive feelings and thoughts.

Anderson et al (2003) - songs with violent lyrics increase aggression-related thoughts.

Rosenbaum  & Prinsky (1987) - Pps asked to rate 35 popular performers according to the extent they sang about sex.

They overwhelmingly reported that love rather than sex was the theme.

Ballard & Coates (1995) - found no measurable changes in Pps mood after listening to different musical genres (rap or heavy metal) and lyrics (murder, suicide or neutral) BUT lyrics often incomprehensible.

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Socialisation Exp. 1 – Social Learning Theory

Bandura et al (1963) - allowed children to play in a room full of toys, the mildly frustrated them by removing the toys.

Some children were then shown a film of an adult hitting a bobo doll.

Children then returned to playroom containing toys including bobo doll.

More imitative behaviours were displayed by the children who had seen the violent film.

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Socialisation Exp. 2 – Emotional Desensitisation

Arousal diminishes with repeated exposure, therefore aggression becomes less inhibited.

Drabman & Thomas (1979) - children who viewed violent material showed less emotional response to subsequent violent scenes.

Linz et al (1989) - repeated exposure to violent *********** reduced the likelihood of Pps labelling similar new material as violent or pornographic.

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Prosocial behaviour - Social Modelling

Sprafkin et al (1975) - showed some 6 year olds an episode of Lassie involving a puppy rescue, another group an episode with no rescue and a third group an episode of The Brady Bunch.

All the children then played a game in which they could win prizes, during which they encountered a group of distressed, whining puppies. Group A spent more time trying to comfort the puppies, despite this compromising their chances of winning.

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Prosocial behaviour - Empathy

Genuine empathy starts around the age of 3.

Children develop close attachments with media characters, especially pre-schoolers.

Yancey et al (2002) - nearly 40% teenagers in sample named a media figure as a role model.

Duck (1990) - teenagers chose media figures they would most like to be like based on their own characteristics.

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Prosocial behaviour - Parental Influence

Singer & Singer (1998) - parents watching pro-social programmes with their children enhance understanding by explaining and discussing moral content.

Coates & Hartup (1969) - 4 yr olds recalled more of a model’s behaviour when an adult verbally labelled the behaviour than when watching alone.

McKenna & Ossoff (1998) - asked 4 – 10 yr olds about moral messages in Power Rangers. Only older children (8+) could identify it. Younger children focused on the fighting.

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The General Learning Model

Buckley & Anderson (2006)

Learning from media involves complex interaction of:

  • Personal variables - Attitudes, beliefs, experience & behavioural tendencies
  • Situational variables - Aspects of the media itself, nature of current exposure

These variables influence:

  • Cognitions – increasing pro-social thoughts, triggering pro-social behaviour
  • Affect – mood congruent or mood dependent effects
  • Arousal – too much inhibits learning, too little leads to boredom and lack of attention
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The General Learning Model

Greitemeyer (2009) - studied the effects of pro-social lyrics in songs.

Pps who listened to pro-social lyrics completed word fragments with more pro-social words than those who had listened to neutral lyrics.

Greitemeyer suggested that the pro-social songs had affected the internal state of Pps and increased accessibility of pro-social thoughts.

However the study only tested short term effects. The GLM may not be able to explain long term changes.

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