Pro-social behaviours (Studies)

Media Influences

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  • Created by: Marie
  • Created on: 23-05-09 21:25

Study 1:

A01: HEAROLD (1986) carried out meta-analysis of over 200 studies of the effects of TV and found that pro-social themes had a greater effect on pro-social behaviour than did anti-social themes on anti-social behaviour
: However... COMSTOCK (1989) claims that HEAROLD's findings are due to the fact that pro-social programmes are generally designed to give pro-social messages, whereas anti-social programmes are not designed to give anti-social messages.


A01: MARES (1996) examined all available research published between 1966 and 1995, considering four main behaviour effects of pro-social TV: altruism, positive interaction, self-control and anti-stereotyping.

A02: Gender differences: MARES found significant gender differences in pro-social effects, with more positive effects evident for girls than boys.
A02: This contrasts with...
the findings of HEAROLD (1986), who found that the effects of pro-social TV were consistently higher for girls and boys, although stronger for girls after the age of 6.

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Study 3:

A01: ALTRUISM: (E.g. Sharing, offering help, comforting)

Children who saw pro-social content (episode of Lassie) behaved more altruistically than those who viewed neutral or anti-social content (POULOS et al., 1975)

Study 4:

A01: POSITIVE INTERACTION (E.g. friendly interactions, peaceable conflict resolution)

FRIEDRICH adn STEIN (1973) found that childrenw ho watched a pro-social programme behaved more positively towards each other than those who had watched a neutral show.

A02: Problems with interpretation

  • Behaviour was usually measured shortly after viewing rather than testing long-term effects.
  • When more generalised pro-social behaviours are measured, the effect is smaller
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Study 5:

A01: SELF-CONTROL (e.g. resistance to temptation, obedience to rules, task persistence)

Children exposed to a pro-social programme later showed higher levels of self-control in their own behaviour (FRIEDRICH and STEIN, 1973))

A02: Subcultural individual differences: The socioeconomic background of children influence their receptiveness to these messages, but this difference was only short-lived.

Study 6:

A01: ANTI-STEREOTYPING (e.g. counter-stereotypes of gender and ethnic groups)

JOHNSTON and ETTEMA (1982) found that children become less stereotyped or prejudiced after watching an anti sex-role stereotyping programme.

A02: However... other research (e.g. Pingee, 1978) has found that boys displayed stronger sex-role stereotypes after viewing non-traditional models.

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