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Lecture # 3

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University of Toronto St. George
Romin Tafarodi

PSY427H1: Lecture #3 27/09/2011 12:10:00 1. FORM AND CONTENT The message of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairsIt is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and actionthe effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts, but alter sense ratios or patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance..Any medium has the power of imposing its own assumption on the unwaryThe serious artist is the only person able to encounter technology with impunity, just because he [or she] is an expert aware of the changes in the sense of perception McLuhan (1964) McLuhan arguing that when we deal with mediated practice, what matters for investigation is NOT what is said through the medium but the MEDIUM itself How does the medium transform/translate how we communicate/relate to each other/ relate to the world? Goes BEYOND the message -McLuhans quote: The message of any medium or technology is the change of scale/pace/pattern that it introduces into human affairs McLuhan wants to alert us that theres a seductive quality of the media o Baseball swing: we dont attend to many of the features that affect us most centrally; dont attend to contour of mediums themselves and how they transform our experience; o We attend to message NOT the capacity of communication (i.e. focus on content of email vs. the fact that hes emailing me; what does email mean) -McLuhans quote The serious artist is the only person able to encounter technology with impunity, just because he [or she] is an expert aware of the changes in the sense of perception Television character (Butler readings): mechanics of character construction on television; Butler provides an up close about how character is socially meaningful in the television medium; if you understand television construction, you understand what the prerequisites are for intelligible convenience introduction of character in any medium 1.1 Effects of screen culture on brain -Susan Greenfield takes a McLuhanian perspective by focusing on perception of TV. She is concerned about screen culture as we know it: we spend a lot of time in front of screens (computer, Nintendo, phone). The number of hours a 10 year old spends in front of screen exceeds the number of hours spent with family + double or triple the amount spent in class What is this doing to our mind/brain? How is it wiring the brain differently? o Effects on attention span: neurological changes that ensue from extensive time spent in front of screen may result in shorter and shorter attention span for kids today; (Rise of screen culture and rise in Ritalin prescription for ADHD; Increase in ADHD related to screen culture) Video games and attention o Video games: hold attention of users by providing something in a sensory way that is more stimulating then what people would get without it (fantasy is a big component); Thats why the pace of a video game changes quickly; Pace is coupled with dynamism and excitement. This is immediately gratifying compared to things you can do in real life: in the real world we need patience; o What are the implications of this in real life? In class? Workplace? Boring is used more today than in history; boredom has been indictment of everyday life; hedonic threat to everyday lifewillingness to feed young people more and more young people for escape Summary: Good things can come up out of technologies: time and space in late modern space have been conquered BUT concern is that in creating other possibilities for social engagement and experience, we create a different evaluation from how we started 1.2 TV and Representations -Common political complaints: were not represented to the extent that we exist (i.e. Canadian commercial TV: huge disparity b/w 11% Asian population and their proportion among those depicted in TV (2-3%)) ; -Question: Why are we underrepresented? This argues that TV represents an alternative to census reality (not depicting reality). These are forms intended to give you another place to occupy than those you would experience without them. Non-Western world: After dinnersit down and watch people walk by; WHY? What gratification comes out of it? o Broadcasting to others I AM AVAILABLE FOR CONVERSATION Inviting sociality o Why does it feel good? Communion: were social animals, like to be connected to others; looking, talking, holding, all gradations of communion; opening ourselves up to human contact o How does TV play into this? When TV first came outprognosis of future: would be great for people in wheelchair so that they can be entertained NOW, TV displaces real world socialization that goes on -Why does TV displace real world? Because theres NO possibility in reciprocation when watching TV you can watch but youre not being watched; invisible but watching othersONE-SIDED SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT TV gives us a window upon the world but its a 1-way glass; We can also judge/evaluate/scorn/shout back at screen with impunity Nothing we say has any consequences; Show will go on Key: we cannot be seen; one-sidedness in tv o Relationships form through these mediated venues=parasocial relationships 1.3 Texting -Texting I love you vs. Saying I love you -Text: NO context; 10% of meaning comes from word; 90%: tone of voice, rate of speech, cadence, inflection we use that to qualify meaning of the words; Auditory and physical cues (posture, gestures) matter! o We dont talk about them b/c we never formalize this knowledge; A lot of knowledge we bring to bear, is knowledge of practice, not formalized BUT HUGE difference between texting I love you vs. saying I love you 1.4 Relation to McLuhans argument -When we become reliant on technology, like instant messaging or TV, it changes our social relations. In terms of skepticism, what we withhold/what we present, it changes coordinated reciprocities (no longer have to abide by rules when texting because NO ONE can see you) Invisibility brings ETHICAL DISENGAGEMENT -Internet talked about critically: By suspending ritual habitualities, we can attend to ethical understandings because we can think about what were NOT doing -How do you come back from a forum and a medium of partially suspended ethical engagement to a world your forced into by conventional standards in ethical standards? Communicating to others through social mediated networks and understanding: how do they feel when justifying their positions Social learning and social knowledge doesnt stay where it isit bleeds over; every reason to suspect that kind of ethical disengagement made impossible IN the internet does have implications for children in real life -Last 50 years: rapid changes; telegraphy; radio; filmwhen we talk about internet, it hasnt been around for very long -Greenfield: in response to question Why should we care about these things? Because were moving REALLY quickly in a direction we dont understand. Moral imperative: if we want to consciously steer our society, we need to be aware -Internet has a different kind of accountability Internet emoticons: Emotional valence is CRITICAL to qualify meaning of actual worlds; people try to compensate for it with emoticons BBM: Read functionstimulate real life accountability
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