CMN 140 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Media Literacy, Russian Roulette, Moral Development

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11 Apr 2017
Chapter 14: How does the Media Effects Process Work?
1. Key Idea: we need to be proactive--rather than reactive--in understanding how
the media affect us. We also need to realize that there are many factors
interacting in the effects process. When we understand these two ideas, we can
achieve greater control over the process of effects.
1. Ex: boys being influenced to play russian roulette
1.1. This shows how public typically takes a reactive perspective =
when someone happens that generates concern, the public likes
to react to the event & debate where blame should be placed
2. Proactive Perspective = public gets concerned about risks (ex: like risks of
harmful actions triggered by media portrayals) and educates ppl so that the
probability of a tragedy occurring is greatly reduced
1. Media literacy perspective is oriented toward proactive approach that
deals with potential risks through education rather than waiting until
negative effects occur, then assessing blame when it is too late to take
steps to prevent the problem from getting to a bad point
2. Greater control over process leading to negative effect by being proactive
3. Also allows you to Better position yourself to achieve positive effects
while you are avoiding negative ones
2. Media Effects are Constantly Occurring
1. Ppl think of media effects categorically (either it occurs or not), which is
reactive-type thinking, but by becoming more media literate, you develop
a more proactive perspective so that you can exercise some control over
the probability of different media effects occurring
2. Manifested effects = effects which can be easily observed (public &
media critics are fixated on manifested effects)
3. Process effects = gradually influence how we think, feel & act over time
1.1. Baseline effects
1.1.1. Baseline = our typical degree of risk that continues
over time Fairly stable over time, can gradually
increase of decrease Shaped by long-term conditioning Some ppl are conditioned in a way that their
baseline is very close to the manifestation lvl, so it
doesnt take much in a media exposure to result in
an effect being manifested Some ppl have been conditioned in a way
that their baseline is very far away from the
manifestation line so it is unlikely that any other
media exposure will result in an observable effect
1.2. Fluctuation effects = something that will happen to temporarily
change our baseline risk level (Ex: spike on the graph)
1.2.1. Usually temporary, after a brief period, the risk level
returns to the base level
1.2.2. Manifestation level = Ex: water level, we don’t know
whats happening underneath the manifestation “water”
level, until a fluctuation strong enough breaks through (like
a fish jumping out of the water); doesn’t mean its not
happening though/it’s there
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1.3. When we talk about media effects, we typically mean only
fluctuation effects that break through the manifestation level (Ex:
those change sin behavior or knowledge that we can observe)
1.4. If we focus solely on fluctuations that broken above the
manifestation level, we lose opportunity to learn a great deal of
effects activity that takes place underneath the manifestation level
2. Factors Influencing Baseline = every day our baseline is being affected by
factors from the media & factors in our own lives (some of those factors increase
risk aka help move our risk upward off the baseline/maybe beyond manifestation
lvl, or move our risk downward & away from the manifestation level) these
movements are process effects
1. Developmental maturities suggest potentialities that at a given age,
there are limits to what ppl can understand & how they go about
1.1. Cognitive development = when we are becoming less influenced
by a cnetral, salient feature of a message & can process many
more leements in a message, which allow them to understand
context more fully
1.1.1. Not limited to concrete thinking but better at making
inferences accurately
1.1.2. More sophisticated about making distinctions
between fantasy & reality
1.1.3. Think about thinking itself (meta-thinking) which
helps them monitor their media exposures & the potential
effects of those exposures on them
1.1.4. Helps us to exert greater control over the shape of
their baselines as well as over fluctuations from those
1.2. Emotional development
1.2.1. Ppl at lower levels of maturity are limited in their
capacity to control their emotions & behaviors
1.2.2. Fear reactions from news are affected by age Older children more likely to comprehend
news stories & lead them to be scared about
happenings reported
1.1.2. Emotional reactions to violent action/adventure
films are influenced by humor Females find that wisecracking heroes add
to their emotional distress, whereas male viewers
find that wisecracking heroes reduce their distress
a bit
1.2. Moral development
1.2.1. Not everyone of the same age will reach the same
level of development cognitively, emotionally & morally
1.2.2. Children ARE highly susceptible to certain
influences, but adolescents AND adults can be susceptible
to these same influences
2. Cognitive abilities (CHAPTER 5 - Children as a Special Audience
1.1. Field independency = your natural ability to distinguish between
the noise & the signal in any msg
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