CCT210 Exam Answers

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Communication, Culture and Technology
Elizabeth Peden

CCT210 Exam Review Part I: Short Definitions Bystander/Aggressor Effect The bystander and aggressor effects are both social psychological phenomenons. As for the bystander effect, the greater number of bystanders there is, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. The bystander effect describes the condition in which a person has become desensitized and less sympathetic to violence and its victims as a result of extended exposure to violence itself. However, the aggressor effect, states that a person exposed to a substantial amount of violent video game entertainment will become more aggressive, more violent, more irritable and meaner. (Ex. Military Games to desensitize killing) Syntagmatic/Paradigmatic Axis Saussure defines syntagmatic as relations that have various ways in which elements within the same text relate to each other. However, paradigmatic is the relationship between a set of text that form mutually exclusive choices. Both are presented in an axis, syntagmatic is horizontal and the latter is vertical. In Bill Nichols article, ‘semiotics of film’, he talks about the axis’ in relation to film. He states that, in film, the syntagmatic axis consists of the actual arrangement of chosen signs: the hero, gun, villain and hero’s action. This axis unfolds over time. The paradigmatic axis, however, is the sum of available choices that exist with exists within a scene in a movie (for example, the weapons to be shown in a certain context). Daily Me The article by Cass Sunstein, Daily me, explores how consumers are able to filter what we view in the online media. This method allows consumers to personalize their pages in a way that they only see what is interesting to them. The main questions the author asks is how will this alter how citizens govern themselves and what the social precautions are. Two main concerns are the fact that people should be exposed to materials they haven’t sought as many citizens should have a range of common experiences to help solve social problems. Three main topics are Specialization, Polarization and Social Cascades. Specialization refers to how people tend to only watch news if it’s solely based/related to them. Polarization is the fact that if people only view things that interest them, there will be a limited argument pool. And lastly, these issues can lead to social cascades which is basically narrowing of information (spread of incorrect information). Push/Pull Effect Author Claire Harrison attempts to give readers an example of a semiotic version of the push and pull effects. In her analysis, Harrison gives an example of these effects based on the advertising of male grooming products. Harrison states that the push effect is to make men more aware and critical of their faces/bodies in order to promote sales while respecting the pull effect. They need to be careful so men don’t feel the pull. Author states that this is occurring due to ‘commodity capitalism’. This phenomenon seeks to standardize consumption patterns on a global scale, thus enhancing constant economic growth. In this article, Harrison shows a case study of ‘Stud5ive’s Double Stroke Mascara’. This mascara is supposed to be looked as making a man look more masculine with defined eyelashes. The push here is to try to make men feel as if putting on makeup should be normalized whereas they try not make it feel as if they are forcing and or ‘pulling’ them to buy it. Disembodiment/Reimbodiment Both semiotic terms, disembodiment is basically the feeling of being away from one's body. In this context it is referring to when one is so immersed in technology/computers that they, in a way, are ‘gone’ from their body as their mind is completely focused on the computer. Reimbodiment however relates to the concept of retribalization. People feel comfortable in a tribe, there is protection and emotional support from others. People want to be part of a community where a sense of ‘belonging’ can foster. The internet is similar in a sense it allows people to discourse and helps bring people together. Virtual communities such as facebook, tech forums, dating web sites, online video games among others are examples of how the internet enables communities to foster. Short Answer 1. When discussing the impact television has on its’ viewers, Danesi refers to “three main psychological effects.” Discuss each. According to Baudrillard, what has happened to the television viewer as a result? The three main psychological effects Danesi refers to are Mythologizing, History fabrication, and Cognitive compression effects. Mythologizing – Basically the celebrity-making effect. The celebrities that television creates are perceived as mythic figures. Television creates mythic personages by simply “containing” them in a box- like space. This is why meeting TV actors, sitcom stars, etc. causes great enthusiasm and excitement in many people. In other words, they are figures that “stepped out” of the box to take on human proportions. History Fabrication – Television is main source for fabricating history that is shown. Events that are shown on TV are felt as being more significant and historically meaningful than those that are not (JFK Assassination, Vietnam War, 9/11). People experience history through TV. People make judgments based on how TV shows the history. Cognitive Compression – TV medium presents its stories, information, and features in compacted form for time-constrained transmission. Consequently, viewers have little time to reflect on the topics, implications, and meanings contained in TV information. This leads to cognitively compressed mode of “reading” the TV text. As Baudrillard said, a passive and cognitively effortless way of ‘reading’ the TV text. It’s presented, packaged and digested before you even have time to reflect on it. 2. Fiske argues that, in television, codes are linked between producers, texts and audience and as a result, television events are already encoded for the viewer. Thus, what you see on television is never “raw.” Explain what Fiske means. Your answer
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