OSU Comm 1100: Communication in Society: Exam 3 Study Guide
Functional Perspective & Groupthink (PowerPoint 13_Groups & Ch. 17); 7 MC, 1 SA
● What is a group?
○ A dyad consists of 2 people.
○ Usually a group has at least 3 people.
■ Shared identity
■ Common goals
■ Interdependent relationships
○ Are groups smarter than individuals?
■ Fold wisdom says that two heads are better than one.
■ Humans evolved to belong to groups.
■ Groups were adaptive in the past; individuals not in groups were much less likely
to pass on their genes.
○ Brainstorming→ A procedure in which group members are encouraged to generate as
many ideas as possible without holding back or worrying about being wrong.
■ Developed by advertising executives in the 1950s to increase creativity of
■ Core assumption is that creative people can feed off each other’s thinking
processes, leading to better ideas than could the same..
■ People who work in brainstorming groups enjoy the work more than do people
who work alone.
■ People who work alone also think they would work better in a group.
● But the actual performance of brainstorming groups is actually worse
(based on meta-analysis of 18 studies)
● Eight people working alone produce more and better ideas than eight
people working in a group.
■ Why it doesn’t work:
● Social loafing (free riding): People expend less effort when they work in
teams than alone.
● Social anxiety: People worry about what others think of their ideas.
● Regression to the mean: The most talented group members end up
matching the performance of their less talented counterparts.
● Production blocking: Individuals can only express one idea at one time if
they want other group members to hear them.
○ Collective Wisdom
■ Research shows that collective wisdom is smarter than even the experts/
● No expert on sports can predict the outcome of sports events better than
the final betting line.
● No stockbroker can consistently pick winning stocks better than the
market as a whole.
● On Who Wants to be a Millionaire, polling the audience produced the
correct answer 91% of the time.
○ Two conditions necessary for groups to be smart:
■ Diversity of opinion
● Brainstorming groups don’t work independently, and produce poor
○ Functional Perspective on Group Decision Making ■ Functional Perspective: A prescriptive approach that describes and predicts
task-group performance when four communication functions are fulfilled.
■ Requisite functions: Requirements for positive group outcome:
● Problem analysis: Identifying the nature, extent, and cause of problem.
● Goal setting: What do you want to accomplish?; Establishing criteria by
which to judge proposed solutions.
● Identify Alternatives: Generate many options before deciding; generation
of options to sufficiently solve the problem.
● Evaluate Alternatives: Pros and Cons of each option
○ Role of Communication in Fulfilling Functions: Actual group productivity=potential
productivity - losses due to processes
■ 1. Promotive-interaction that moves the group along the goal path by calling
attention to one of the four requisite decision-making functions.
■ 2. Disruptive-interaction that diverts, hinders or frustrates group members’ ability
to achieve the 4 task functions
■ 3. Counteractive-interaction that members use to get the group back on track.
○ Group Polarization: Group discussion leads people to become more extreme in their
■ Persuasive Arguments View: Group members gradually convince themselves of
the correctness of their initial views, and so come to adopt these even more
■ Social Comparison View: During group discussion, people discover that their
views are about average. Because people want to be above average, they shift
to a more extreme position.
○ Cohesiveness→ degree of mutual interest among group members.
■ Brings group members together and enhances interpersonal relationships
■ But cohesiveness can lead to investing too much effort in sustaining good will to
the detriment of good decision making.
● Groupthink→ tendency of highly cohesive groups to seek consensus so
strongly that they ignore any information that is inconsistent with their
views and often make disastrous decisions.
○ Symptoms: Invulnerability, Rationale, Morality, Stereotypes,
Pressure, Self-censorship, Unanimity, Mindguards
○ Preventing groupthink:**
■ Teach members about groupthink, Be impartial; don’t
endorse any position, Encourage criticism, objections,
and doubts, Use “devil’s advocates”, Divide the group
into subgroups, Identify possible actions by rival groups,
Express doubts at “second chance” meeting, Outside
experts challenge the group’s views, Get reactions from
associates, Independent groups work on same issue.
Uses and Gratifications (PowerPoint 14_Uses & gratifications & Ch. 28); 5 MC
● Hypodermic Needle/Bullet Theory or Uniform-Effects Model (1920s-1930s)
○ This view implied that mass media had a direct, immediate and powerful effect on
viewers, like a drug injected into one’s bloodstream or a bullet entering one’s body. View
was prominent until the 1950s. ○ Straight-line effect of media→ A specific effect on behavior that is predicted from media
content alone, with little consideration of the differences in people who consume the
■ Factors contributing to view:
● Emergence of persuasion industries, such as advertising/propaganda.
● Films had a strong effect on children.
■ Payne fund studies
● In 1920s, public concern about harmful effects of motion pictures on
children prompted payne fund studies.
● 13 studies found that media had a lasting effect on racial attitudes,
health, moral standards, emotions, and delinquent behaviors.
■ Why such impact?
● High confidence in the medium
● Breaking news format
● Expert interviews
● Use of real places
● Tuning in late
● Limited Effects Model (1940s-60s)
○ Carl Hovland (1942-45) found that U.S. Army films did not affect soldiers’ motivations.
○ A study of the 1940 election between Roosevelt and Wilkie found that interpersonal
contacts were more important than the mass media in influencing voting (Lazarsfeld et al,
1948). Similar results were found for the 1948 election between Truman and Dewey
(Berelson et al, 1954).
○ Klapper (1960) reviewed hundreds of studies concluded that mass media effects were
● Uses and Gratifications Approach
○ Changes the basic question about media’s role:
■ Used to be: What do media do to us?
■ Now: What do we do with the media?
○ Assumes an active audience:
■ We choose whether to use and what to use.
■ We choose what content to view/hear/read
■ We decide how to interpret
■ We decide how to respond
○ Main point of uses and gratifications theory is how people use media to meet the top 3
Maslows hierarchy of needs (social needs, esteem needs, self-actualization needs)
○ Key assumptions:
■ Audience is diverse.
■ Audience is active
● Goal directed, purposive, motivated.
■ People use media to gratify needs or wants.
■ Mass media compete with other sources of gratification.
■ The same show may gratify different needs for different people.
○ Combined Typology:
■ Surveillance of the environment (learning)
■ Correlation of environmental parts (problem solving)
■ Transmission of a social heritage. ■ Entertainment
■ Parasocial interaction (and companionship); parasocial relationship→ a sense of
friendship or emotional attachment that develops between TV viewers and media
■ Pass time/habit
○ Normative Images of Media→ overtime individuals develop beliefs about what needs are
best satisfied by what types of media
■ Some hypotheses about media norms:
● Relaxation best served by music
● Entertainment best served by TV
● Information best served by print media
● Pass time best served by web
■ It is atheoretical. It doesn’t explain why people use media in different ways.
■ Lack of conceptual clarity about what a motive, use, or gratification really is.
■ Lack of synthesis between typologies of uses and gratifications.
■ Ignores social context of media use.
■ Ignores the fact that the media can create people’s needs.
■ Unrealistic to assume audiences are active.
■ The problem with self-reporting:
● Do people actually know why they watch TV?
● Would people have a tendency to give a socially desirable reason?
● 1970s: Moderate Effects
○ The 1972 Report to the Surgeon General found that a causal relationship exists between
TV violence and aggression, but “any such causal relation operates only on some
children (who are predisposed to act aggressively)”and “operates only in some
○ Dependency theory (Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur,1976) states that the degree to which
people use mass media information depends on several factors (e.g., individual
differences, amount of disorder or conflict in society).
● 1980s to Present: Powerful Effects
○ 1983 NIMH Report on Television and Behavior concluded that TV violence is linked to
societal violence. “In magnitude,television violence is as strongly correlated with
aggressive behavior as any other behavioral variable that has been measured.”
○ Viewing a 30 minute TV program has a significant effect on values (Ball-Rokeachet al.
● Why People Deny Media Effects?
○ Fallacious reasoning: “I play violent video games and I’ve never killed anyone!”
■ Only .10% of crimes recorded by FBI are murders→ most people don’t kill
○ Cognitive Dissonance→ conflicting thoughts cause psychological discomfort
■ “I love violent video games, they’re fun” vs. “Scientific studies show violent
games can be harmful” leads to “I don’t believe the research, it’s flawed/biased”
○ Psychological Reactance→ unpleasant tension people experience whenever they feel
that someone is trying to limit their freedom.
■ People think researchers are trying to ban video games.
■ Responses to Freedom loss:
● What the forbidden option more
● Try harder to get it
● Aggresses against the source of the prohibition ○ Third person Effect→ people believe the media have a much stronger effect on others
than on themselves
○ Denial from the media industry
○ “Balanced” reporting by journalists
■ The role of Journalists:
● Lay people learn about violent media effects from news reports, not
● But journalists are not scientists. Journalists often attempt to “get both
sides of every story” to be “balanced”. Doesn’t work well when the news
reports aren’t based on science and try to argue the scientific evidence.
It’s usually the expert’s word against the average person’s.
Cultivation Theory (PowerPoint 15_Cultivation & Ch. 29); 4 MC
● Cultivation Theory: George Gerbner
○ Core: level of television viewing → beliefs about the real world
○ A theory about TV:
■ TV as “society’s institutional storyteller”
■ TV is an agent of socialization-competes with other socializing agents
■ TV depicts the world in a certain way
● The values presented in TV Programs often run counter to the values
presented by other socialization agents.
○ Institutional process analysis→ Scholarship that penetrates behind the scenes of media
organizations in an effort to understand what policies or practices might be lurking there.
○ Message system analysis→ Scholarship that involves careful, systematic study of TV
content, usually employing content analysis as a research method.
■ Messages are relatively uniform.
● Differences between genres are inconsequential.
● There is a universal quality to the messages being offered through TV.
● This universality gives TV as storytellers true power.
● TV viewing is non-selective and habitual.TV engenders a “mean world”
○ The Mean World Syndrome
■ The world presented on TV is violent—much more
violent than in the real world.
■ Heavy TV viewers will encounter this violence and adopt
a mindset that the world is more violent than it actually
■ This effect is enhanced if heavy TV viewing is combined
with limited interaction in the real world (e.g., those who
are more aged get out less, but watch more TV).
● Content Analysis: Since 1967, Gerbner and his colleagues have been
counting violent acts in prime-time and daytime TV programs. ⅔ of prime
time programs contain violence. By age 18, the average viewer with see
13,000 murders on TV.
● Cultivation Analysis: Participants are placed into groups according to
how much TV they watch: Light viewers: less than 2 hours. Heavy
viewers: 4+ hours. Cultivation exists when heavy TV watching is related
to the TV answer.
● Cultivation Differential:
○ Ex: “What percentage of all males who have jobs work in law
enforcement or crime detection? Is it 1% or 10%?”. OnTV, about
12% of all male characters hold such jobs. In reality, about 1% of
males hold such jobs. So 10% would be the “TV answer”and 1%
would be the “real-world answer.” ○ Difference between heavy and light TV viewers is called
● Cultivation Effects: At least 300 scholarly publications.
○ Replications have been carried out in many countries (e.g.,
Argentina, Australia,Brazil, Canada, England, Germany,Hungary,
Israel, the Netherlands, Russia,South Korea, Sweden, China).
○ A meta-analytic review found a significant average correlation of
.09, which is a“small”correlation.1
● Accessibility principle→ When people make judgments about the world
around them, they rely on the smallest bits of information that come to
mind most quickly.
■ Mainstreaming: the blurring, blending and bending process by which heavy TV
viewers from disparate groups develop a common outlook through constant
exposure to the same images and labels; over time, heavy TV viewers begin to
adopts a similar view of the world.
● This worldview focuses on a need for safety and security.
● Can impact a range socio-political orientations.
■ Resonance: the condition that exists when viewers’ real-like environment is like
the world of TV; these viewers are especially susceptible to TV’s cultivating
power; Cultivation effects are greater when what you see on TV is similar to what
you see in the real world.
○ Not all stories are bad: Mr. Rogers→ Gerbner speaks about Mr. Rogers: He has
something to tell, not something to sell. He has a messages that respects the viewer
○ TV rating system problems: Ratings do little to protect children from violence. In one
study, programs rated TV-G (suitable for all ages) contained only one-third fewer violent
scenes than programs rated TV-14 (unsuitable for children under 14).
○ Ratings are assigned by the industry
○ Ratings may make programs containing violence and sex “forbidden fruits.”
○ Cultural environment movement
○ Correlation does not prove causation.
■ Rather than heavy TV viewing leading people to become more fearful, it may be
that fearful people watch TV because they are afraid to go outside.
○ Third factors could also explain cultivation effects.
○ Beliefs about real world are influenced by many factors besides TV.
○ People can apply different meanings to what they see on TV.
○ TV portrayals (e.g., of violence) are probably not uniform today with hundreds of TV
○ Breakdowns by content type are more useful than measures of total viewing.
○ Viewers often don't use people on TV for "social comparison." If they did, the heaviest
viewers would be thinnest, but they are the fattest.
Agenda Setting Theory (PowerPoint 16_Agenda setting & Ch. 30); 4 MC
Agenda-Setting Theory (1972) Hypothesis→ The mass media have the ability to transfer the salience of
issues on their news agenda to the public agenda.
● Reaffirmed the power of the press, while still maintaining that individuals were free to choose.
● Types of Agenda
○ Media agenda: the pattern of news coverage across major print and broadcast media, as
measured by the prominence and length of stores
○ Public agenda: the most important public issues, as measured by public opinion surveys
○ Policy agenda: the issues policy makers are paying serious attention to at any given time.
● For an issue to acquire public recognition its supporters must have either access to the mass
media or the resources to reach people.
● proposes that the news media determine the issues the public thinks about and talks about. ● predicts a cause-effect relation b/w media content and public opinion
● theory rises or falls on its ability to show a match between the media’s agenda and the public’s
agenda later on.
● The presumed cause (media agenda) has to come before the presumed effect (public agenda) in
● Factors affecting influence of media on the public agenda:
○ Issue obtrusiveness: Tendency of an issue to impact people in their daily lives.
■ Public agenda setting is more likely for unobtrusive issues.
○ Need for orientation (index of curiosity): A measure of the extent to which individuals’
need for orientation motivates them to let the media shape their views; Combination of
interest in an issue and high levels of uncertainty about that issue.
■ Public agenda setting is more likely for individuals who are high in need for
● Who sets the media agenda?
○ Way too many stories for the media to cover.
○ About 75% of the stories that come across a news desk are never printed or
○ About 50% of stories are from press releases.
○ Editors and journalists are the “gatekeepers” that decide what news stories to cover.
○ These gatekeepers are not a cross-section of US citizens. They tend to be middle-aged
white males who attend the same conferences, banquets, and parties as the politicians.
● Proposed by Tversky and Kahneman
● People value a certain gain more than a probable gain with an equal (or even greater) expected
value; the opposite is true for losses.
● Gains and losses are evaluated from a subjective reference point.
● The function relating subjective value to losses is steeper than the function relating subjective
value to gains. Thus, the pain associated with loss is greater than the joy associated with the
● Framing the Message→ The selection of a restricted number of thematically related attributes for
inclusion on the media agenda when a particular object or issue is discussed.
○ Framing refers to how information is presented.
○ Gain-framed message focuses on increasing health (e.g. flossing your teeth daily
removes particles of food in the mouth, promotes fresh breath).
○ Loss-framed messages focuses on decreasing illness (e.g. If you don’t floss, you’ll have
● Agenda-Setting in digital age:
○ Newspapers are becoming extinct.
○ Although mainstream media organizations are no longer the sole-agenda setters, they
still help set blog agendas.
○ However, the digital age has lessened the agenda-setting effects of the media.
■ Less use of mainstream media
■ More content choice
■ More control over content
■ More “citizen based” coverage
● Interest aggregations→ clusters of people who demand center stage for their one overriding
concern; pressure groups.
● Agape love→ an unconditional love for others because they were created in the image of God.
Communication Accommodation Theory (PowerPoint 17_Communicationaccommodation & Ch.
31); 4 MC
● Matching the verbal and nonverbal behaviors of others signals agreement and liking. It should
create greater rapport with others.
● This can be unwelcome, however, if it is perceived as manipulative. ● Convergence→ A strategy of adapting your communications behavior so that is becomes similar
to another person’s. These language shifts include features such as phonetic changes (pitch,
○ Adult speech becomes simpler when they talk to babies and pets.
○ Talk slower and louder to people from other countries.
● Divergence→ A strategy of accentuating the differences between your communication behavior
and another person’s; Is often used to preserve one’s ingroup identity.
○ Self-handicapping→ for the elderly, a face-saving strategy that invokes age as a reason
for not performing well.
○ Maintenance→ persisting in your original communication style regardless of the
communication behavior of the other; similar to divergence.
○ Overaccommadation→ Demeaning or patronizing talk; excessive concern paid to vocal
clarity or amplification, or repetition; simi