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Lecture 3

PSY427H1 Lecture 3: representation

Course Code
Romin Tafarodi

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Lecture 3 01/20/2015
Send jonathan your chosen question by the 6th of February.
Identification of “effects”:
direct and conditional
cultivation, agenda-setting
Systemic analysis:
political and economic
rules of decoding are used to interpret signs.
the meaning that signs have is that they go beyond themselves to point to something else.
the limitation is that people make sense of these signs in different ways  diversity of effects. Interpretations
based on SES, etc.
the interpretations that you have are always going to be contestable.
A researcher can come along and say that it means something else, and because it is not causal, it is
subjective, he may be true.

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the cumulative impact of media effects  whatever it does to us, it does it over many years, not all at once.
even in the case of longitudinal research, e.g. violence and aggression, television across a 30-35 year
span, television use at age 8 and how it can be used to predict violent behavior in childhood. The problem
is that even at age 8, we select the kind of television we want to see. You aggressive adults would have
been aggressive no matter what. They try to control by measuring aggression at 8 age, equate all the
subjects on that scale and then compare it later in life.
what is the problem with the validity of assessing aggression at age 8? Young kids live in a highly regulated
and constrained environment – not a lot of freedom to express aggression. Conduct is determined for them
in their environments. They aren’t allowed o express fully the range of aggressiveness in their personality.
as accurate as they try to make these experiments, theres a trade off: if you conduct the experiment in a
lab, the environment is different from natural setting. If you use other methods and settings, you lose the
ability to make causal connections.
you have to understand what media experiences are embedded in and the contexts they are in.
success is determined by how much advertisers are willing to spend to sponsor. To determine this, it
depends on how many people watch the tv show. There was an example that lots of people were watching
the show but the advertisers weren’t making any money. They weren’t catering to the group who was
watching. You need more detailed info about whos watching, how much money they are making.
Advertisers need to know how much dividends they can earn from ads. The state of mind of the watchers is
also important. There are some states of mind that lead to giving to charity, some buy a new car. There are
many different states of mind that lead to different behaviors – fostered to the synergy between the ad and
the programming content.
you have to understand the politics of television. You regulates the content, who are the stakeholders, how
makes the decisions? We have to understand media as integral to social and cultural life. It has to be
understood as it interlocks or interferes with cultural life.
whatever effects tv has has been going on for decades. We have to look at historical analysis, which has
E.g. Kottak (1991) – television in Brazil

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tv came to brazil in 1975. Telanovellas are very popular in latin American culture. Brazil is a diverse country
geographically, politically, culturally and socially. You could look at different areas that were at different
areas on integrating tv into everyday life.
what happens when a society comes into contact with new medium?
1) mesmerization
2) selectivity and civic integration – now they make decisions because they have options – they exert some
agency over what they are watching. Initially, these stage 2 open up a new dimension of civic life. They
didn’t have a lot of awareness about what is going on in brazil, let alone the rest of the world. They were
concerned with family life and their own villages. Now more social cohesion and diverse social lives. TV as
a social agent. Power over information  the richer got tvs first and so people would need to get information
about the rest of the world from them. People were flocking in certain homes to watch tv. They were allowed
to sit inside if they were of higher status and outside if they were of lower status. Some people would put
angle their tv out of the window so that people could see that they were wealthy.
3) contraction
4) isolation – this is the stage we are in now.
Representation of Persons and Groups
Lost in the funhouse
reality and performance
identity claims
personhood as moral positioning
stardom and celebrity
how do we represent ourselves?
why would you care about how your group is represented?
implicitly stereotyping
it creates a box that you have to push up against if you don’t fit it
positive or negative
people may only see these groups represented on tv – not in real life.
how that group comes to represent itself
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