Psychology A2 - Media:

  • Created by: Samantha
  • Created on: 17-01-13 13:08

Media Influences on Prosocial Behaviour:

Exposure to prosocial behaviour - Despite moral panic over antisocial TV acts - one study saw as many prosocial acts in any hour as antisocial in popular US TV shows.

Acquisition of prosocial behaviours + norms - SLT - Unlike antisocial behaviour, prosocial is more of a social norm + therefore more likely to be repeated + reinforce social norms. More likely to be rewarded for imitating prosocial behaviour.

Developmental factors - Research suggests many prosocial skills develop throughout childhood  - .: We might expect strong differences in degree that different children are affected by media. Eg. Younger child less affected by prosocial TV messages than older.

Parental mediation - Effect of TV viewing often mediated by presence of parent. Effective mediating includes disscussing ambiguous + disturbing material with child + following up concept shown in programme. This has been shown to have enhanced effects of Sesame Street. Research suggests with parental mediation; Children as young as 7 able to understand complex moral messages contained in adult sitcoms.

Prosocial effects of other media - Research almost exclusive on TV but childrens stories also traditionally carry prosocial messages, Eg. Fairytales - Often children want them read over + over again = Reinforcing prosocial messages.

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Research Studies of Prosocial Media:

Altruism (Eg. Sharing, offering help) - Typically involves explicit modelling of very specific behaviours. Young children who watched Lassie (Child rescues dog) more likely to help puppies in distress than children who watched neutral programmes. Conc - Children who saw prosocial content behaved more altruistically than those who watched neutral/antisocial.

Self-control (Eg. Task persistance, resistance to temptation) - TV model demonstrating self-control - Children showed higher levels of own. 4 yr children watched show demonstrating these over 4 weeks + showed more task persistance + obedience to rules than those who watched aggressive cartoons (Eg. Batman) or neutral programmes.

Positive interaction (Eg. Friendly interactions, peaceful conflict resolutions) - Observed children at play, counting no of aggressive acts, friendly behaviours + expression of affection etc. Children who'd watched prosocial programmes behaved more positively towards each other than those who'd seen a neutral programme. 

Anti-stereotyping (Eg. Counter-stereotypes of gender) - Large scale study involving several thousand 9-12 yrs children. Watched TV series Freestyle (programme designed to reduce sex-role stereotypes) once a week for 13 weeks. Overall - Moderate + effects with children becoming less stereotyped or prejudiced in their attitudes or beliefs.

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Evaluation of Prosocial Media Influences:

Exposure to prosocial behaviour - US shows had high levels prosocial content; 77% contained at least 1 message. BUT found only 4 in top 20 for -17s with prosocial lessons.

Acquisition of prosocial behaviours + norms - Children most affected when shown exact steps for + behaviour. May be because they remember concrete acts more than abstract. Learning prosocial norms from media less common - except when followed with discussion. Eg. Largest effects found when programme followed up by teacher-led discussion. However, cases where this doesn't work. Eg. Teenagers hopitalised for mental health; found post-disscussion decreased altruism.

Developmental factors - Meta-analysis; -est effect on teens, +est on primary school kids. Prosocial influence unrealistic? -Home experiences more likely to affect than media.

Parental mediation - Only some forms effective - Simply co-veiwing not. Only in 'instructive mediation' - involving explanation + discussion - is parent effective mediator.

Prosocial vs. antisocial effects - Aggressive acts can be generalised to other behaviours, but prosocial are specific = Lack of generalisation limits effectiveness of prosocial messages. + Mixed prosocial + antisocial messages in same programme limit effectiveness of prosocial = More aggressive than with only antisocial messages!

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Media Influences on Antisocial Behaviour + Evaluat

Psychological Explanations for Media Influences on Antisocial Behaviour:

Observational Learning + Imitation - Children observe actions of media models + imitate behaviours, especially when child identifies with + admires the model. TV also informs of positive + negative consequences of these behaviours = If model gains goal through either means - Child more likely to imitate. Evidence in natural experiments.

Evaluation: Bandura's research supports veiw. However such imitation is quite rare outside of Lab studies using specially prepared videos. Eg. 2 boys who murdered younger boy said to be inspired by 'Child's Play' but no known link was ever found.

Cognitive priming - Existing aggressive thoughts are primed. Immediately after violent programme, veiwer is primed to respond to trigger due to aggressive memories stored. Eg. Man watches violent film, goes to pub, spills drink on another man, says sorry, they laugh + he goes home. However, if man gets angry about drink being spilt on him - Initial man - primed by film - may respond aggressively. Priming needs trigger.

Evaluation: Support - hockey players deliberately frustrated + shown non/violent film - actor held walkie-talkie. In game referee held - cue for violent film players = played violently.

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Media Influences on Antisocial Behaviour + Evaluat

Densensitisation - The more a child sees violence, the more acceptable it becomes - they are desensitised to it + will be more likely to engage in it themselves in the future.

Evaluation: People might get used to screen violence but doesn't mean they will get used to it in real world. TV violence more likely to make child frightened that frightening.

Lowered Physiological Arousal - Stronger desensitisation for male heavy TV watchers - lower-than-average physiological responses to new violence. Arousal stimulated by violence intitially unpleasant but more seen, more used to it  = Emotional + physiological responses decline. Do not react in same way to violence + more likely to use themselves.

Evaluation: Excitation-transfer model; Watching violence = Increase arousal = Primed.

Justification - Violent behaviours on TV may provide justification for children mimicking the violence in their own lives. Children who are violent may then surround themselves with TV violence to relieve themselves of the guilt of their own actions + to justify them.

Evaluation: Many TV programmes have mixed pro + antisocial messages, Eg. Good guys being violent. Use of aggression by good guys leads to moral justification.

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Evaluation of Media Influences on Antisocial Behav

Anti-effects Lobby - Evidence does not universally support link between TV violence + antisocial behaviour. 1500 teenage boys interveiwed + boys who watched least amounts were least aggressive BUT boys who watched most TV were less aggressive than those who watched moderate amounts. Suggests link is unpredicable.

Natural Experiment - St Helena - Small colony on island recieved TVs for first time in 1995, contradicts harmful effects of it. Little changed following arrival, despite expectations to increase antisocial behaviour. The difference that did show was that boys were more antisocially affected than girls.

Gender Bias in Media Effects Research - Is primarily focused on male-on-male violence, usually within artificial Lab settings. Also frequently uses unrepresentative samples Eg. Male students + then generalises findings. Uses disguising words such as 'students'.

Methodological Problems - Liklihood of demand characteristics. Eg. Bandura - One version of study little girl heard whispering "Look Mummy, there's a doll we have to hit!"

Ethical Issues - Subjecting children to violent + sometimes disturbing images that may have an impact on their own behaviour. 

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Negative Effects of Computers + Video Games:

Video Games + Aggression:

Experimental studies - ST increases in physiological arousal + aggressive behaviour after violent video game play. 2 groups; 1 played Wolfenstein 3D (Violent shooting game) and another Myst (Slow puzzle game). W players blasted opponents with white noise (multi-frequency sound) for longer + rated higher on State Hostility Scale than M players.

Longitudinal studies - 430 children 7-9 yrs surveyed at 2 points during school year. Children who had high exposure to violent video games were rated by peers, teachers + themselves as more verbally + physically aggressive + less prosocial.

Meta-analyses on video games + aggression link - Consistent link found between violent video games + aggressive behaviour - Appears to hold for both children + adults.

Computers: Facebook Use: Facebook friends + stress - Interveiwed 200 students in Scotland about FB habits. 12% (Significant no) reported anxiety linked to use of site. These people had significantly more friends than other FB users + reported stress from deleting unwanted contacts + constant pressure to be humorous. Also felt guilty when rejecting friend requests + 10% disliked recieving them altogether.

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Evaluation of - Effects of Video Games + FB Use:

Negative Effects of Video Games:

Problems with research evidence - Lab experiments - Cannot measure real-life aggression + can only measure ST effects. Artificial experiment + Low ecological validity. Problem of longitudinal studies is that participants may be exposed to other areas of media violence - Eg. TV - during the study which would mean that effect of video gaming alone is uncertain.

Why might there be an effect? - Yet to establish casual relationship between violent game play + aggression. Likely that more aggressive people naturally choose more violent games.

Negative Effects of Facebook Use:

Facebook use and stress - Supported in case study of asthmatic man who split from his girlfriend + was deleted from her FB page. He then changed his name in order to befriend her again, but after logging on + seeing her picture his breathing became worse, sign of his asthma worsening. This suggests that social networking sites such as FB could be a significant source of psychological stress, + a trigger in depressed asthmatics. However, is only one case study + cannot generalise results.

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Postive Effects of Computers + Video Games:

Video Games + Prosocial Behaviour:

Helping behaviour - Playing prosocial games can increase helping behaviour. Groups played game for 8 minutes - 1. Prosocial. 2. Neutral. 3. Aggressive. After all saw researcher knock pencils over. Of group 1; 67% helped pick up pencils. 2; 33% + 3; 28%.

Multiplayer games + social commitment - Games that involve other players offer possibility of social outcomes such as learning about a problem in society + exploring social issues - Demonstrated in study; majority of people who listed Sims as a fave game. Large-scale US survey investigated impact of multiplayer games on social commitment. These people were committed to civic participation + some had tried to persuade others how to vote in an election compared to solo players. + Players who regularly took part in social interaction linked to the game were more committed socially

Computers: Facebook Use:

Facebook + self-esteem - FB walls can be positive influence on self-esteem due to most feedback being +. US Uni study - Students asked to either (For 3 mins): 1. Look at FB wall. 2. Look in mirror. 3. Do nothing. Afterwards 1 gave far more + feedback about themselves.

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Evaluation of + Effects of Computers + Video Games

The Positive Effects of Video Games:

Why don't prosocial video games have more of an effect? 85% video games involve violence - prosocial ones can cause behavioural shifts in alturistic direction, but people who play video games less likely to experience this as prosocial are seen as less attractive.

Methodological limitations - -s game research: 1. No control over young people's other life commitments + social activities - How much of game actually played? 2. People choose what they want to play for research - Played similar games before? - Desensitisation.

Therapeutic applications of video games - Successfully used in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. Eg. Army stimulation game in non-threatening environment. Also Tetris found to reduce amount of flashbacks to traumatic event.

The Positive Effects of Facebook Use:

How does facebook increase self-esteem? Hyperpersonal Model: selection of info we choose to present ourselves + oppurtunity for people to leave + feedback = + impact.

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Elaboration Likelihood Model:

Some decisions we think hard about  + for others we use the 'quick and dirty' route.

There are two routes to persuasion depending on whether the audience is likely to focus on the message itself or other factors, such as how credible or attractive the source is: (Eg. Cancer campaign or chocolate bar advert - Advertised through info or celebrity?)

Central Route:

  • Thoughtful consideration of message - active process
  • Elaboration of info (Connecting it to existing knowledge)
  • Must be motivated to make an effort + to be active
  • Must be able to process info (Intelligence etc)

Peripheral Route:

  • Doesn't need to think much about message
  • Less effortful - lazy processing
  • Swayed by superficial aspects of message (Eg. Attractiveness of source, emotions)
  • Can be less motivated + able
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Elaboration Likelihood Model: Evidence + Evaluatio

ELM Supporting evidence (Studies): + ELM Evaluation:

1. Need for Cognition important factor in health campaigns. Students exposed to peripheral or central non-smoking campaign = Higher NC - more influenced by fact-based central message.

Evaluation - If content of message is not of personal importance - More likely influenced by peripheral route.

2. Students asked to buy phone online based on reviews. Each review differed in terms of quality + quantity. Lower NC = Decision based on quantity of good reviews - Eg. ***** x 100. Higher NC = Based on quality of reviews - Eg. 3 fab reviews with info.

EvaluationDemonstrates to marketers that a lot of reviews is needed for online shopping for most of the population.

3. Initially no Uni students volunteered to help AIDS victim with school project. Then, famous USA basketball player announced he has HIV + 83% of students offered help. 

Evaluation - 4 months later % decreased; Peripheral influence can be strong but ST.

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