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COM 275 Notes Unit 2

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COM 275

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I. Audience Theory and Research Traditions a. Origins of the Audience i. The concept of “audience” is changing 1. The early origins of public performances b. Modern mass media audience differs in being i. Larger ii. More dispersed iii. Individualized and privatized iv. From mass to market 1. Audience as mass market a. Blumer (1939) distinguished “mass” from old notions of group, crowd, and the public b. Mass audience was large, disperse, and always shifting c. The audience as a market i. An aggregate of individual consumers ii. Boundaries based on economic criteria iii. Members are unrelated to each other iv. Members have no shared integrity v. The formation is temporary vi. Critical perspectives 1. Negative views – range from simple snobbery to sophisticated media analysis 2. Mass media audiences have “low taste” c. Main Criticism i. commercial organizations exploit media consumers d. Main Goals of Audience Research i. Accounting ii. Measuring reach for advertising purposes iii. Manipulating audience choice iv. Looking for market opportunities v. Product testing and improving message effect vi. Meeting responsibilities to serve an audience vii. Evaluating media performance viii. Alternative traditions of research 1. The structural tradition a. Obtain reliable estimates of the size e. The behaviorists tradition i. Media effects and media use f. The cultural tradition i. Concerned with popular culture ii. Media use is a reflection of a particular social-culture iii. Types of audience 1. The Four Main Types of Audience a. Audience as a group or public b. Gratification set as an audience c. The medium audience d. Audience as defined by content 2. Alternative models of the audience-sender relationship a. Audience as target (cognitive processing) b. Audience as participants (normative communication) c. Audience as spectators (attention giving) 3. Questions of audience reach a. Different ways of defining can make concept of “reach” unclear b. Six concepts of audience reach i. The available (potential) audience ii. The paying audience iii. The alternative audience iv. The internal audience (attention to particular content) v. The cumulative audience (percent reached over period of time) vi. The target audience 4. A generalized view of audience reach and impact a. Clausse’s (1968) 5 Layer Model i. Demonstrates how most communication receives only a small fraction of its potential and impact ii. The Five Layer Model 1. Message Offered 2. Message Receivable 3. Message Received 4. Message Registered 5. Message Internalized b. Activity and Selectivity i. There has continued to be controversy about what this means ii. Biocca (1988) proposes five different versions 1. Selectivity 2. Utilitarianism 3. Intentionality (conscious decision to use media to satisfy a need) 4. Resistance to influence (skeptical about letting message persuade) 5. Involvement II. Uses and Gratifications a. Different from early theories i. Ex. Magic Bullet Model ii. Earlier theories emphasized passive audience, strong effects b. Evolved from research on media functions i. Lasswell’s Societal-Level Functions of Mass Media ii. Three Major Functions that Media Should Serve in Society 1. Inform (survey the environment) 2. Guide (correlation of environmental parts) 3. Educate (transmit social norms and customs) iii. Other Functions that Media Does Serve Include: 1. Entertainment, parasocial interaction, escapism, anxiety reduction, among others c. Uses and Gratifications – Assumptions i. Assumes a more active audience 1. People choose what media they consume 2. They make choices based on differing needs, media attributes, and potential uses 3. Media are used for gratifications 4. Social and psychological factors mediate communication behavior 5. Media compete with other alternatives for selection and use a. Viewers must attend to be affected b. Difference among audience members cause people to i. Seek out different messages ii. Use those messages differently iii. Respond to them differently d. Five Parts of Research Focus i. The social and psychological origins of needs leads to ii. Expectations of mass media resulting in iii. Differential patterns of media exposure, iv. Needs gratification and v. Other consequences e. Three Objectives of Uses and Gratifications i. Explain how media use gratifies needs ii. Understand motives for media behavior iii. In functions or consequences resulting from needs, motives, and exposure f. Models to Explain Uses and Effects i. The transactional model 1. 2 factors combine to produce an effect a. Characteristics of the message b. Psychological orientation of the audience 2. Powerful effects occur only when the user’s orientation permits it ii. The gratification seeking and audience activity model 1. A more complex model a. Many factors influence uses and effects i. Attitudes and gratifications sought determination selection and attention ii. Behavioral intentions and involvement with message influence exposure effects iii. The expectancy-value model 1. Compares: a. Outcomes expected at onset with b. Gratifications sought and obtained 2. Behavior, intentions, and attitudes result from: a. Expectancy b. Evaluation (positive/negative violation) iv. The uses and dependency model 1. Elements in the media system cause people to use and depend upon the media a. Dependency strengthens message effects 2. Dependency results from 2 factors: a. Motives for obtaining gratifications b. Availability of viewing alternatives g. A Brief History of Uses and Gratifications Research i. 1940s 1. Studies identify people’s motives for listening to certain radio programs (Herzog) ii. 1970s 1. Early U&G researchers categorized the various motives for media use a. E.g., learning, habit, companionship, arousal, relaxation, escape, to pass time 2. Many typologies were developed 3. Suggestion that media uses and effects should be linked (Rosengren & Windahl) a. Argue that use determines effect iii. Recent Research 1. Links viewing with attitudes toward media 2. Compares motives for using media with viewing particular content 3. Identify social and physical characteristics that influence media use h. Other Research i. How different backgrounds, motives, and levels of exposure have affected outcomes 1. Characteristics and motives of particular media users 2. Gratifications from media use 3. Personality traits that predict media use i. Criticisms of Uses and Gratification i. Too individualistic ii. No synthesized research findings iii. Lack of clarity among key concepts 1. One typology of motives 2. Concept of an active audience j. Use of Self Reporting III. Children – A Special Audience a. Introduction i. What is audience? 1. Can be socially derived 2. Can be studied structurally, behaviorally, an socio-culturally 3. “Until the rise of American advertising, it never occurred to anyone anywhere in the world that the teenager was a captive in a hostile world of adults.” –Gore Vidal, Rocking the Boat, 1963 4. Why be concerned about children? a. “Television for children has no recorded history. Although twenty-fixe years have passed since television arrived, and few other experiences pervade and invade our children’s lives as deeply, we have little understanding of its effects. Programs vanish almost as soon as they appear. Nothing is so ephemeral and perishable, nothing is used up so fast.” –Gerald Lesser, Lessons from Sesame Street, 1974 b. “Then shall we simply allow our children to listen to any story anyone happens to make up, and so receive into their minds ideas often the vary opposite of those we shall think they ought to have when are grown up?” –Plato, The Republic c. Children are malleable d. Over 3000 research articles on children and TV e. TV affects children i. Least = displacement ii. Most = believes – emotions – behaviors ii. Little People, Big Changes 1. There isn’t just one “children” audience a. Really 3 to 4 different children audiences 2. Stage Theories 3. Cognitive Development a. Jean Piaget 4. Moral Development a. Lawrence Kohlberg iii. Cognitive Development 1. Piaget: 4 stages of mental maturity a. Sensorimotor (B-2 yrs) i. Learning language ii. Discovering physical world iii. Learn: 1. Objects exist outside themselves 2. Things exist even when they can’t be seen 3. Some things cause other things to happen iv. TV: Sights/colors and Sounds/voices/music b. Preoperational (2-7 yrs) i. Begin to utilize symbols ii. Make guesses about motives iii. Group things in one relationship iv. TV: Short stories, cartoons, characters c. Concrete Operational (7-11 yrs) i. Conservation tasking ii. Mental recreations – planning, scheming iii. Perspective taking of others iv. TV: ½ hour and 1 hour shows, story-line, simple problem-solution, humor d. Formal Operational (11-Death) i. Abstract thinking ii. Verbal (logical/axiomatic) reasoning iii. Geometric theorems iv. TV: Mystery, crime stories, complex social problems, sci-fi, relationships iv. Moral Development 1. Lawrence Kohlberg – Difference between right and wrong 2. 3 Major Stages a. Pre-conventional i. 2-9 years ii. Punishment/reward b. Conventional i. From 10 to death for 80% ii. Being good and caring, following rules, duty to society c. Post-conventional i. About 20 years to death for 20% ii. Values beyond simple laws, universal ethics v. Major Issues 1. Violence a. Gerbner (1986): in no year from 1967 to 1985 was the proportion of cartoons containing violence lower than 90% 2. Sex a. Greenberg et al. (1993): 24-36 channels offering “adult programming” in America 3. Stereotyping a. Brand (1995): Counter-stereotyped content reduces tranditional stereotypes vi. What Children Get From TV 1. Infants: a. Language, objects, tasks 2. Toddlers: a. Language, behavior, form over content 3. Grade Schoolers (K-6) a. Advertising, stories, roles 4. Teens a. Social relations, sexuality vii. How Children Use TV 1. Viewing Habits a. Viewing increases by age until formal operational stage, then declines a little (Comstock, 1989) i. 6 months – 1.5 hrs/day ii. 5 years – 2.5 hrs/day iii. 11 years – 4 hrs/day iv. 15 years – 2-3 hrs/day v. *these are averages 2. Opportunity Costs a. Displacement Hypothesis (Selnow and Raynolds, 1981) i. Media use reduces chances of doing something else ii. Activities at and away from home compete with media 1. Away: School club, music, sports, religious 2. Home: sleeping, studying, hobbies 3. Learning and Social Cues a. Children find out from television (Dorr, 1980) i. Occupations ii. Fashion iii. Politics/world iv. Social Relationships viii. Capstone 1. There are many “audiences” 2. Children constitute 3-4 audiences 3. Children’s TV generally is violent and stereotyped IV. Cultivation a. The Cultural Indicators Project i. Initiated in 1967 by George Gerbner ii. Investigated the “cultivation” effect: 1. For people who watch a lot of television, the real world starts to resemble the world of television iii. Three Components: 1. Institutional process analysis a. Examines the production, management, and distribution of media messages 2. Message system analysis a. Investigates images in media content 3. Cultivation analysis a. Compares social perceptions of heavy and light viewers b. Conceptual Roots of the Cultivation Hypothesis i. Television is the great storyteller of our age ii. Mainstreaming 1. Heavy television viewers absorb attitudes and beliefs shown on television 2. Diverse groups develop similar perceptions iii. Resonance 1. Real-world events support the distorted image of reality shown on television c. Cultivation Hypothesis Assumptions i. Assumes: 1. Messages are relatively uniform 2. Viewing of television is non-selective 3. Television viewing is habitual ii. Assumptions are challenged by critics d. Criticisms of Cultivation i. Concepts need further explication 1. Uniform messages (means what?) 2. Underlying narratives (are what?) ii. Validity of concepts are difficult to test iii. Underlying cognitive processes are unspecified e. Theoretical Bases for Cultivation i. Television is primary source of shared meaning and messages (Gerbner) 1. Symbolic interaction ii. Cognitive paradigm (Hawkins & Pingree) iii. Learning and construction (Bandura) f. Research Tradition i. Content analysis (TV images) ii. Survey methods (viewer perceptions) 1. E.g., Mean World Index iii. Recent and Future Trends 1. Replicating earlier research 2. Research in other countries 3. Attempts to find “global” perceptions 4. Determining role of new technology V. The Effects of Minority Portrayals a. Media as Conveyors of Social Information i. Studies on minorities in mass media fall under two main categories: 1. Descriptions of minority portrayals 2. Portrayals’ effects on audiences b. Minority Portrayals in Entertainment i. Three methods to describe minority characterizations: 1. Counting characters of various races 2. Assessing character significance 3. Assessing similarities, differences, and interactions between different races c. Stereotyping i. Definition: a standardized mental picture of a group that represents an over-simplification ii. Three characteristics: 1. Useful generalizations to organize information cognitively (i.e. mental models) 2. Not inherently evil 3. They are dangerous when they: a. Oversimplify a social group b. Distort generalizations in a negative direction iii. Two Central Questions 1. Is a group recognized by media? a. Prevalence and salience 2. If yes, how is the group recognized? a. Status and importance d. Clark’s Four Stages i. Non-recognition ii. Ridicule iii. Regulation 1. Appear as “protectors” of existing order iv. Respect 1. Full range of roles e. Role Comparisons i. How are groups represented? ii. Examines how media portray in terms of: 1. Characterization 2. Violence 3. Occupations 4. Age 5. Other factors f. Groups Studied i. Gender ii. Race 1. African-American 2. Latino and Hispanic 3. Asian-American 4. Native-American 5. Arab-American g. Research on Minority Portrayals in TV Entertainment i. African-Americans are overrepresented, while other minorities (e.g., Latino, etc.) are underrepresented ii. Ratings for cable indicate that blacks watch more TV than whites 1. Some credit this for why more black actors are landing starring roles as compared to other ethnic groups h. Research on Minority Portrayals in Other Media i. News Reports 1. More minorities in news since 1970 ii. Advertising 1. Black and Asian-Americans appear more, other minorities underrepresented (e.g., Latinos) iii. Children’s Programming 1. Public TV programs are recognized for their sensitivity to minority issues i. Effects on Audiences i. Caucasian viewers 1. Tend to stereotype minorities based on media messages and direct contact with people 2. Positive race-related prototypes may reduce stereotypes and positively influence perceptions of target racial/ethnic groups (Mastro & Tukachinsky, 2011) ii. Minority audiences 1. Little research VI. Social Cognitive Theory a. A framework to analyze cognition and the behavior that it produces b. Direct offshoot of Social Learning Theory c. You may recall: the Bobo experiment d. Triadic Reciprocal Causation i. Three different factors that interact to determine each other: 1. Behavior 2. Environmental Factors 3. Personal Characteristics a. Cognitive, affective and biological events e. Based on Four Distinctly Human Traits i. Symbolizing Capacity 1. The ability to use symbols to transform experiences into cognitive models for the future (i.e., words) ii. Self-Regulatory capacity 1. The ability to evaluate and motivate oneself iii. Self-Reflective Capacity 1. The ability to verify thoughts to see if they are right 2. Four Self-Reflective Modes a. Logical Mode i. Verify using logical deduction b. Persuasory Mode i. Verify based on knowledge of expected outcomes c. Enactive Mode i. Verify by assessing consistency between perception and experience to make sure thinking is correct d. Vicarious Mode i. Verify based on the experience of others iv. Vicarious Capacity 1. The ability to learn without direct experience f. Observational Learning i. Basic logic of the theory 1. A person learns by observing the actions of others and the consequences of those actions 2. We learn both behavior & expected outcomes a. If Action A is rewarded, then Action A is good b. If Action A is punished, then Action A is bad g. Modeling i. The reenactment of observed behavior ii. 4 processes involved: 1. Attention 2. Retention 3. Motor reproduction 4. Motivation, driven by a. Positive outcomes from direct experience b. Observation of positive outcomes for others c. Internal values (good versus bad) iii. Abstract Modeling 1. Rules of previously learned behavior generate new behaviors in related situations a. “If it was okay for John to punch Jack for stealing his wallet on television, it’s probably okay for me to kick Josh for stealing my soda.” iv. Effects of Modeling 1. Observing action that conflicts with established behavior has two effects: a. Inhibitory effects i. Observation restrains a person from acting in a previously learned way b. Disinhibitory effects i. Observation weakens internal restraints on certain behaviors ii. Disinhibitory Devices 1. Things that weaken internal restraints: a. Moral justification b. Advantageous comparison c. Euphemistic labeling d. Displacement of responsibility e. Diffusion of responsibility f. Distortion of the consequences of action g. Dehumanization h. Attribution of blame h. Antisocial Effects of Viewing Media i. Effects can be: 1. Cognitive 2. Affective 3. Behavioral ii. Modeling can result in copycat crimes i. Prosocial Effects of Viewing Media i. Many potential effects 1. Empathy 2. Sharing 3. Many program examples a. Sesame Street b. Barney c. Gullah Gullah island d. Blue’s Clues e. Mister Roger’s Neighborhood j. Recent Research i. Children’s acceptance of safety rules after exposure to accidents in television dramas ii. Priming effects of media violence on aggressive constructs in memory VII. Priming k. Research based on psychological principles of information processing l. Priming occurs when media activates related thoughts stored in one’s mind i. Usually has beneficial effects ii. May have undesirable consequences 1. E.g., a hostile or distorted prime m. Conceptual Roots i. Cognitive neoassociation 1. Network of semantically related thoughts and feelings 2. Brain stores memories, thoughts, and scripts together 3. Stimuli trigger a chain of mental activation a. E.g., apple – fruit – food – hunger – eat ii. Research tradition 1. First, subtly introduce certain thoughts into the mind 2. Then test to see the extent of the priming effect n. Theoretical Bases for Priming i. Storage Bin Model 1. Recently primed concepts are strongest ii. Storage Battery Model 1. Emphasizes frequently primed concepts iii. Synapse View Model 1. Time determines when recently or frequently primed concepts emerge as more important 2. For a short time, a recent prime is more important VIII. Effects of Media Violence a. Measuring Violent Content i. Two best known research projects 1. Message System Analysis (Gerbner) a. Violence Defined as: i. The overt expression of physical force against self or other compelling action against one’s will b. Recorded: 1. Number of violent acts 2. Demographics of perpetrators and
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