Media - Prosocial and Antisocial behaviour

  • Created by: AnnieB
  • 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.
1 of 10

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.

2 of 10

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.

3 of 10

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.

4 of 10

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.

5 of 10

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.

6 of 10

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.

7 of 10

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.

8 of 10

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
9 of 10

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.

10 of 10


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Media psychology resources »