PSY 355 Psychology & Media in the Digital Age
This page was last modified on February 21, 2018
Studying Media's Effects in Psychology and Social Science (Giles, 2003)
Early Approaches: 1930s-1960s
- Robert Merton & Paul Lazarfeld: Mass media as a kind of narcotic; creating public apathy
- Frankfurt School (German sociology):
- UK: TV & movies (cinema) filled with cheap & emotional productions; entertainment filling empty lives
Consuming Media (particularly Television) in the 2010s
The "Effects" Tradition: 1960s+
- Media as having negative effects, e.g., violent media & violent behavior
- Uses experimental methods
- Albert Bandura & the Bobo Doll experiment (explanation at Simply Psychology site)
Cultivation Research: 1970s+
- Media is a crucial element in a complex system of environmental & cultural forces.
- George Gerber (U. Penn, d. 2005): How does a media-saturated society influence how the members of that society develop?
- Effect on viewing the world
- Themes such as "fear" pervading the media: Fort Apache, The Bronx (1980)
- Often the victims of TV violence are minority and vulnerable people including the elderly, children, etc.
- "Mainstreaming" effect, i.e., values & cultures presented in media become commonplace all over the globe
- Media acts to reinforce people's real life experiences = Resonance
Uses & Gratification Research: late 1970s+
- Focusing upon the psychological motives of individual media consumers
- Related to Maslow's hierarchy of motives
- Papachrissi & Rubin (2000): the motives to go online include
- Interpersonal utility (looking for online social interaction)
- Passing time
- Seeking information
- Media dependency theory: In a media-saturated world, users come to depend on media for information &, indeed, on specific media outlets. How?
The "Active" Audience
- Focus on larger audience groups (rather than the behavior or psychology of individuals)
- What is the role of "reality television"?
- The Jersey Shore
- The Amazing Race
- Keeping Up With the Kardashians
- The Voice
- What kinds of outlooks and "codes" do audiences bring to "read" the media they consume? In each of the responses noted below, the audience is doing something or responding in more than a completely passive way
- Fandoms & Lifestyle
- Media figures can be incorporated into the daily lives of their audiences
- Individuals may build their identities on media characters and situations
This page was first posted on 2/17/14