Pro-social explanations for media

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Pro-social behaviour and the media

Acquisition of pro-social behaviours & norms

Children learn appropriate behaviours by observing the behaviour of models.

Children are more likely to imitate the behaviour of models if they anticipate positive consequences for that behaviour.

This is known as ‘vicarious learning’.

Social learning theory - Bandura: we learn by observation both what to do and when it’s acceptable.

Imitate behaviours – if rewarded we repeat.

Pro-social acts also represent positive social norms so are likely to be rewarded.

Greenberg (1980) analysed popular children’s TV programmes in the US and found an equivalent number of pro-social and anti-social acts in any one hour period.

Altruism - Poulos et al 1975 – children who watched Lassie being rescued more likely to rescue a puppy than if they watched a neutral film.

BUT this may be affected by their developmental level (concrete thinking vs abstract thinking)

Cognitive priming - We store ‘problem-solving’ scripts in memory, after observing behaviour – expectations of how to behave in situations.

Lots of exposure to pro-social behaviours lead to pro-social scripts being stored in memory

These are then recalled if a similar situation occurs

Cognitive priming - We store ‘problem-solving’ scripts in memory, after observing behaviour – expectations of how to behave in situations.

Lots of exposure to pro-social behaviours

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