Module 3 Module 3 Module 3 Module 3
Module 3 Presentation Readings Assignments

Go on to Part 3, Mass Mediation of Leisure
Go back to Part 1, Media and Socialization

1) Media and Socialization (continued)

This refers to the ways media influences the development of an individual's culture and the culture of groups.

Two of the most powerful ways media achieves this socialization are:

1) Media as an information source
2) Media as an influence on what we believe

2) Media as an Influence on What We Believe

This ties into the interpretation, linkage, establishing values, and entertainment aspects of media.

Researches believe media can determine attitudes when 3 things happen:

1) The same ideas, people, or behavior recur consistently in the media
2) People are exposed to heavy amounts of media
3) There is limited exposure to alternate beliefs
1) The same ideas, people, or behavior recur consistently in the media
We're not born with attitudes and opinions about people, we learn them. We learn them, at first, from our family, our friends, our "bounded culture", and the media. But where did "our family and friends" learn their attitudes? Often, it's from the media, too.
This helps explain the concern over stereotyping in the media. All are Italians in the Mafia? Are all black kids gang bangers? If that is the only way they are portrayed in the media, what other conclusions can we draw?
It's often easy to let the media do our thinking. Finding information, evaluating that information, forming logical conclusions is hard work. We'll just adopt someone else's ideas. This reflects the dangers of interpretation mentioned in Module 3, Part 4.
TVGod Click for larger image
©2011 Willey Miller
2) People are exposed to heavy amounts of media
Think back to your media diary. You are exposed to media almost every waking hour. If your choice of media is narrow, you are repeatedly exposed to the same ideas. And that makes it easy for you to adopt those ideas.
Once upon a time, children were exposed to the thoughts and ideas of their parents, extended family, and "elders". Now, with dual income or single parent families growing, who'se ideas are the children repeatedly exposed to? The media's. This is the fear expressed in the article "The Other Parent".
Baby's First Word Click for larger image
©2001 Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
3) There is limited exposure to alternate beliefs
We like to associate with people like us, our "bounded culture". So we tend to develop "group" ideas. We don't consciously reject contrary opinions; we just don't hear them. It's selective exposure.
It also occurs when there is a lack of alternative opinions to hear
Boondocks Click for larger image
©2001 Aaron McGruder

Two important ways media influences what we believe are through:

1) "Media Role Models"
2) "Modeling Group Behavior"

1) The Media Role Model

This means adopting behavior portrayed by the media. The effect can be totally unplanned.

1) A person encounters a form of action portrayed by a person in the media. This doesn't happen through a casual exposure but through repeated viewings.
2) The individual identifies with the model. This can be through conscious or subconscious identification.
The idea that the media can subconsciously influence people is critical. If true, people can be influenced without realizing it. This subconscious influence forms the basis for much of the criticism of the media.
3) The individual remembers and imitates the action in some later situation. This goes beyond superficial mimicry like hairstyles or catch phrases. It speaks to adopting the broad actions, the life values of the role model.
4) Acting like the model results in some positive or negative reinforcement.
5) The positive reinforcement increases the chances the person will imitate the model again. The negative reinforcement decreases the chances of imitating the model
For example, parents use negative reinforcement to counteract the impact of the media on their children.
1934 "Camel" ad, with the "daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jay Gould."

Come to Marlboro Country!

Recently, social critics have given this a name, "The Paris Effect:"

"Showing that a certain behavior is pervasive can cause people to think that the behavior is normal, Harman said. And if the media attention given to the behavior is enough (or way more than enough in the case of Paris Hilton), it can have an influence.

When the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Paris Hilton is partying and drinking and driving, even if it's not right, then that can become reality. Even if it's not the actual reality, in that person's mind it is, Harman said."

Click here to read "Experts, parents worry kids are under the influence of celebrity."

This is not a new concern, though. Click on "Forbidden Fruit" to see how "responsible adults" in the 30's approached the problem of Role Modeling (Rated R.)

By now, you should understand how great a role, either deliberately or by accident, the Media Role Model plays in forming our attitudes.

After you've completed this part of Module 4, go to the Assignments page and complete the Assignment for Module 4, Part 2.

Go on to Part 3, Mass Mediation of Leisure
Go back to Part 1, Media and Socialization
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©2011, Terry Dugas

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