Theory and Process of Communication Complete Notes: Part 1 - 92% on final

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Boston University
Mass Communication, Advertising & Public Relations
COM CM 380

12/14/2013 Be able to explain the elements of Lasswell’s definition of media effects as “who/says what/in which channel/to whom/with what effect” –he added the concept of channel and effects who: the gatekeeper, the communicator says what: the message in which channel: the medium (TV, radio) to whom: the receiver of the message, the audience with what effect: effect on the audience Example: CNN news about a toxic leak in Japan who: TEPC operator (changed because now we have larger conglomerates like record producers) what: toxic waste leaking into water channel: CNN news (TV medium) (this is what made his different, the addition of the channel) whom: public effect: alert the people of Japan from the radiation Selection- how are things selected access to information, events, and ideas are part of the selection process layers of gatekeepers who make the decisions Creation- people who are chosen to translate these events and ideas that were obtained from the selection process into set of signs and symbols to be disseminated to receiving groups topics, themes, and styles are all a part of this process Dissemination- the idea that you have to be a big player in the media or topic in order to get your topic disseminated rarely get to see a foreign film, we cant really see any movie we want because we only have the choice of 10 movies at a time Reception- who is going to these movies and receiving these messages selectivity process of what the receivers choose to watch what they are exposed to Know the historical milestones of mass media research, such as: “Payne Fund Studies, “Seduction of the Innocent” comic book scare, Surgeon General's reports, Telecomm Act of 1996 Payne Funds- when motion pictures became popular in the 1920s a series of studies on the effect movies had on children because when movies came out parents were scared because you could see the violence actually happening Payne- non profit study of what media affects magic bullet theory people Payne concluded that the movies were potent sources of information, attitudes, and behavior on children there wasn’t a direct relationship between violence on movies and kids being violent first time we studied the effects of mass comm. seduction of the innocent Wartham said comic books had a negative effect on children magic bullet theory came back, thought kids were being corrupted by comics almost wiped out industry of comic books Surgeon generals report idea that the SG turned their attention to violence on TV said that violence viewing precedes long run manifestation of aggressive behavior not exactly the one to one magic bullet, but that there were subtle things kids become more aggressive (priming and cultivation were happening) their report was that too much violence was not good, become desensitized, too much violence does lead to aggressive behavior about Columbine- concluded that media violence was less of a risk factor than family influences, peer attitudes, SES, and substance abuse Telecommunications act parents afraid of TV violence, put V chip on TV so parents could filter what their kids could see but people ignore the v chip *best way to combat media affects, is education* watch with your kid and explain that this isn’t real Understand the differences between "effects" theories and "critical" theories: think about it in terms of passive or active audience Effects theories- behavioral: catharsis, arousal, disinhibition, imitation, desensitization affective: fright cognitive: cultivation, social learning, priming, agenda setting, third person media have effects, arguments arise about what those effects are and how powerful they are, but they do exist. what is the impact on individuals powerful effects magic bullet: media are powerful in shaping public opinion and messages directly and heavily influence individuals example: the Geico gecko would directly affect the number of policy holders in the population minimal effects limited effects Bauer said that many factors are influential in the kind and amount of effects available from the media he called audiences obstinate and said they were difficult to persuafe denied the hypodermic needle affect and said that many variables interact to shape effects two step flow- considered media effects to be minimal media inform opinion leaders and then influence others through interpersonal communication example: get Geico because a friend recommended it opinion leaders still exist but their centrality to the mass communication process has diminished reinforcements and selective exposure-media effects are limited reinforcements: mass communication is not a necessary cause of audience effects but that its mediated by other variables media are NOT only one contributing cause media has reinforcement, not causal, relationship to audience behavior the media choices you make reinforce your beliefs which in turn affect the media choices you make selective exposure: effects on an audience are mediated by selectivity, we work to limit dissonance through the selective process. people make entertainment choices based on personal preferences and needs their mood has a lot to do with their entertainment choices people expose themselves only to messages that are consistent with their preexisting attitudes and beliefs audience members are selective in their exposure to information, likely to read articles that confirm what you already believe predicts that people in most circumstances will select information consistent with their attitudes how does it affect me individually selective retention: more likely to remember the messages that are consistent with beliefs selective perception: people interpret messages in a manner consistent with their preexisting beliefs if your favorite politician changes positions on an issue, you think they are flexible if a rival politician does so, they are flip flopping effects: catharsis, desensitization, cultivation passive audience what happens to the audience and how it affects them almost all social scientific NOT humanistic Critical theories bigger, cultural things: loose confederation of ideas held together by a common interest in quality of communication and human life concerned with conflicts of interest in society, mostly about inequality and oppression doesn’t just observe, also criticizes—also adds interpretations AND criticism example: “we need to not stereotype Hispanics” Marxism (class struggle), feminism (power relations are constructed and the male language bias affects relationships, male domination constrains communication) example: how does the media affect our perception of women race theory: notion of social justice, that unrecognized patterns in social behavior constitute patriarchy and forms of domination color blind and color conscious color blind is that I'm going to treat everyone the same color legal decisions shouldn’t take note of race conscious is that through history we need to pay attention to color to change racism, because we haven’t overcome racism legal decisions should take note of race because aggressive measures must be taken to bring change The difference between effects and critical: administrative research only asks what the observable influences are are there direct, observable effects from the media critical theory- larger, possibly more significant cultural questions asks larger questions about what kind of nation we are building , what kind of people we are becoming these questions would serve our culture better Understand Critical theory, particularly the difference between "color blind" and "color conscious" bigger, cultural things how does the media affect our perception of women as an example also adds interpretations AND criticism “we need to not stereotype Hispanics” race theory: color blind and color conscious blind is that I'm going to treat everyone the same color conscious is that through history we need to pay attention to color to change racism, because we haven’t overcome racism Explain McLuhan’s expression “The Medium is the Message” McLuhans theory: Classical Medium Theory: media, no matter the content, impacts individuals and societies. TV affects you no matter what you watch it’s the medium that changed the world (watching on an Ipad as opposed to what you’re watching how a media affects the audience Understand New Media Theory including “social interaction” and “social integration” New media: the move to two-way, democratized communication second media age: decentralized two way beyond state control democratizing promoting individual consciousness individually oriented *with older media, central sources provide situations with which audiences can identify, you listen but media doesn’t interact with you. media was all powerful, one way communication and there was no other choice *new media: a shared ritual that makes you feel a part of something, part of a community of users new media permit something that looks like interaction but is not similar to face to face, it creates computer simulation of presence media changes the way we interact with others Social interaction: how close it is to face to face distinguishes media in terms of how close they come to the model of face to face interaction older broadcast media emphasize the transmission of info, which reduces the possibility of interaction these media are thought of as informational and mediate reality for the consumer, new media are more interactive and create a sense of personalized communication social integration: ritual use of the media this distinguishes media in terms of ritual or how people use media as a way of creating community media is not just an instrument for information but a way we come together in a community and feel a sense of belonging interaction is NOT a necessary part of social integration, FtF is no longer an necessary base for comparison of communication media interact with the medium itself rather than each other Difference: interaction- comparing face to face with technology- old media integration- rituals, TV changes people and they way they interact (Mcluhan) changed the cultures, doesn’t matter what’s on TV about the medium, not a specific app but that you could get together and talk about them as a ritual Define "diffusion of innovation"- how, why, and at what rate new ideas and technology spread through cultures; how innovation spreads among consumers diffusion is the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system four elements that influence the spread of ideas: the innovation, communication channels, time, and a social system innovation: an idea or practice that is perceived as new by an individual communication channel- the means by which messages get from one person to another time: length of time required to pass through the innovation decision process must be widely adopted in order to self sustain within rate of adoption, there is a point at which innovation reaches critical mass social system: a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish a common goal categories of people innovators early adopters: when something new comes out feel innovation status symbol early majority (critical mass- majority of people) late majority laggards Know Uses and Gratifications: including expectancy-value theory and dependency theory humanistic theory active audience asks how do WE use the media, what do we choose and how does it gratify us Uses and Gratifications: the media do not do things to people, rather people do things with the media. audience members use media content actively rather than remaining passive, they use it to achieve their own goals the influence of the media is what people allow it to be grounded in the assumption that individuals select media and content to fulfill felt needs or wants based on perceived needs, social and psychological characteristics, and media attributes, individuals use media and experience related gratifications assumes active audience- consciously selects content and media to satisfy needs or desires U&G focuses on: motives, social and psychological antecedents, and effects (behaviors or attitudes that develop as a result of the combined influence of motives and traits) motives: general dispositions that influence peoples actions taken for the fulfillment of a need or want or behavior motives include: inclusion, pleasure, relaxation, mood management, escape, information, ritualized social and psychological antecedents: mediating concepts that influence the selection of media content; preceding variables that influence media related decisions, attitudes and behaviors consequences of effects: what results from the media use one particular outcome is media dependency tendency to rely heavily on a particular communication medium for the fulfillment of needs or wants example: a family watches a family friendly show for entertainment or to just spend time together “does uses and gratification theory consider audience to be active or passive?- ACTIVE Dependency theory audience depend on media information to meet certain needs and to achieve goals, but an individual does not depend on all media equally excessive dependency on a medium (watch a lot of TV) = more influence and power that that medium has on you dependency on a particular medium augments the effects that a particular medium could produce 1. you are more dependent on media that meet a number of needs than media that satisfy just a few; dependent on media that supplies information that is more central to you 2. when social change is occurring, reliance on media for information increases (during the Boston lockdown or times of war) but when the world is in more stable times, dependence on media goes way down dependency can occur because of outside factors, not just cognitive individual decisions for example, a teen depends on iTunes because of social group pressures, not because she necessarily wants to and old woman depends on her TV for companionship because she cant leave her home the increased availability of the medium also affects dependency not many people use internet telephones because its isn’t highly available, but this can change and people can become dependent when the technology becomes more available example: dependence on a news outlet when you choose to only watch CNN, it becomes more influential because you have a more narrow view and it is framed in a certain way and it has an effect on you dependency on social networking to satisfy social needs can be troubling (only have friends on fb) Expectancy value theory- developed in order to understand that connections between gratifications sought and obtained: the gratifications you seek from media are determined by your attitudes (attitudes are developed and modified based on assessments about beliefs and values ) example: if you believe that sitcoms provide entertainment, and you like to be entertained, you will seek gratification of your entertainment by watching sitcoms attempts to determines the mental calculations that take place in attitude development 1. individuals respond to novel information about an item or action by developing a belief about that item. if a belief already exists, it can and will be modified by new information 2. individuals assign a value to each attitude that a belief is based on 3. expectation is created or modified based on the result of a calculation based on beliefs and values example: a student finds out that a teacher has a reputation for being funny, the students assigns a positive value to humor in the class, so they have an expectation that their experience will be positive. when the student gets to class and finds the professor funny, the student calculates that it is a good class the result of the calculation, called the “attitude”, stems from complex equations that contain belief/value pairs attitudes are a function of beliefs and values expectancy values= attitudes 1. media use is goal-directed, purposive, and motivated we purposely watch what they watch, we don’t channel surf 2. people initiate selection and use to satisfy needs 3. a host of social and psych factors mediate behaviors I want hype or I don’t want that socially who you hang out with affects what you watch 4. media competes with other forms of communication 5. people are more typically influenced by other people than they are by media (influenced by parents as opposed to media) most kids do spend more time with media though Know the following theories: Magic Bullet/Hypodermic Needle Theory strong effects, media is all powerful media are a dangerous drug or killing force that directly and immediately penetrates a person’s system media are a corrupting influence that undermine social order, average people are defenseless against their influence Moderate Media Effects theories: social learning, agenda setting this is most popular today over the limited effects and bullet theories Limited Effects: Klapper’s Reinforcement Approach limited effects: the media influence is limited by individual media is not that powerful differences, social categories, and personal relationships can all impact a person in addition to the media impacting them reinforcement theory the major impact of the mass media was to reinforce existing opinions saying that if you’re already aggressive and you watch aggressive, this will just reinforce if you aren’t aggressive and watch aggression, it wont change you Know the difference between catharsis, stimulation, priming, excitation transfer, and desensitization Physiological/Behavioral effects Catharsis vs. Stimulation- stimulation is more supported arousal/stimulation: viewing violence prompts more aggression on the part of the viewer when a viewer watches a violent, funny, or sexually explicit scene they become aroused when you’re watching a chase scene or horror it gets our adrenaline running in terms of violence in media it doesn’t drop off after the media portrayal is finished when you watch aggressive movies, after the movie you are feeling and acting aggressive carry over, mimic whatever you saw catharsis: suggests that viewing fantasy expressions of hostility reduces aggression there is little support for this effect Too Cute on animal planet porn brings catharsis excitation transfer-psychological, related to arousal takes stimulation a step further when we experience arousal in media, it doesn’t necessarily transfer to that same emotion could see a car chase scene and the adrenaline rush is happening, but it could come out in different ways could be watching a funny movie and are aroused, then someone bumps into you and you get angry heightened arousal can switch the emotions see a scary thing, but then your emotions later are that you laugh scene from Steel Magnolias example: viewing erotic material tends to enhance aggressive behavior tendencies in individuals desensitization- you become desensitized to violence and rape images the more you are exposed to it heavy exposure to porn desensitizes subjects to the seriousness of rape and led to decreased compassion for women as rape victims doctors are desensitized to blood and accidents video games desensitize soldiers going into war imitation (social learning theory) explain how observers model behaviors they see Cognitive Effects: changes in peoples beliefs, values, and attitudes that result from consuming media Priming- rewiring of our brain, as we watch media, it changes the way we think. media violence can prime thoughts of aggressive behavior and make actual aggressive behavior more likely. it can also be applied to long term effects more cognitive element in addition to behavior brain is rewired after watching aggression etc elements of thought, feeling, or memories are parts of a network connected by associative pathways a thought element is activated, the activation spreads along the pathways, and after the thought is activated there is an increased probability that it and other parts of the network of thoughts will come to mind again this reconnects our thinking patterns the media primes you/gets you ready media can have that affect if you keep seeing aggressive aggressive media, so when you’re confronted you act accordingly aggressive ideas prompted by viewing media violence will trigger other semantically related thoughts, increasing the probability that associated aggressive thoughts will come to mind Cultivation theory was developed to gauge cognitive effects of television viewing Gerber found that there was a positive correlation between the amount of time spent watching and the prevalence of certain beliefs about the world Third person effect: individuals perceive media messages to have more impact on other people than themselves Agenda setting Social learning/cognitive theory Know elements of Cultivation theory: including “mean world” syndrome, “mainstreaming,” “resonance” cultivation theory: television can bring about a shared way of viewing the world. TV is so pervasive in our culture that it cultivates certain views across all segments of society concerned with the cumulative affects of TV over long periods of exposure general overriding images depicted on television will cut across individual social groups and subcultures and affect them all heavy viewers: believe in a reality that is consistent with what is shown on TV (even though TV doesn’t reflect the actual world) see the world as gloomier than light viewers do heavy viewers mistrust people more than light viewers do mean world syndrome: fact is that less than 1 percent of the population are victims of violent crimes, but heavy exposure to violent crimes on TV leads to a belief that no one can be trusted in what appears to be a violent world mainstreaming: heavy viewers of TV tend to become more homogenized and similar to each other and hold similar beliefs, even if they come from completely different demographics or backgrounds the mainstream represents the broad and dominant currents and shared meanings that exist in our culture tv draws peoples closer to a mainstream reality as seen on TV example: heavy viewers who are liberal and conservative will tend to move toward the middle of the spectrum than those who watch fewer hours of TV resonance: the idea that if you already hold a certain belief, and then you see it reflected on TV, you get a double dose of this idea and are even more likely to believe it or see it as reality some themes that have been portrayed on TV and affect our view of reality race role of women role of bullying post-college reality Know the difference between the various levels of learning: Classical Conditioning, Operant Conditioning, and Modeling classical conditioning- Pavlov a form of learning in which the conditioned stimulus (CS) comes to signal the unconditioned stimulus (US) US is something like food or pain that elicits a response from the start, the unconditioned response (UR) CS no response at the start, but after conditioning elicits the c
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