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Violence/Anti-Social Effects: Social Cognitive Theory (Social Learning Theory), Copycat Effect, Desensitization, Priming, and even Catharsis . COM 226, Summer 2011 PPT #7 Includes chapters 16 & 20 of DeFleur textbook. Four Major Claims about Media Violence.

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Com 226 summer 2011 ppt 7 includes chapters 16 20 of defleur textbook l.jpg

Violence/Anti-Social Effects: Social Cognitive Theory (Social Learning Theory), Copycat Effect, Desensitization, Priming,and even Catharsis

COM 226, Summer 2011

PPT #7

Includes chapters 16 & 20 of DeFleur textbook


Four major claims about media violence l.jpg
Four Major Claims about Media Violence

  • Pt. #1 -- There is a LOT of violence in the media.

  • Pt. #2 -- Exposure increases risk of harm.

  • Pt. #3 -- Not all portrayals pose same degree of risk.

  • Pt. #4 -- Not all viewers are similarly impacted.


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Four Major Claims about Media Violence

  • Pt. #1 -- There is a LOT of violence in the media.

    • Established through content analyses.

    • National Television Violence Study (NTVS): 61% of TV shows contain violence.

  • Pt. #2 -- Exposure increases risk of harm.

  • Pt. #3 -- Not all portrayals pose same degree of risk.

  • Pt. #4 -- Not all viewers are similarly impacted.


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Four Major Claims about Media Violence

  • Pt. #1 -- There is a LOT of violence in the media.

  • Pt. #2 -- Exposure increases risk of harm.

  • Pt. #3 -- Not all portrayals pose same degree of risk.

  • Pt. #4 -- Not all viewers are similarly impacted.


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Pt. #2: Theories of Media Violence—Does it affect viewer aggression?

  • Four primary explanations:

    • A) No effects (Klapper, 1960-on)

    • B) Catharsis Theory (Feshbach, 1960s)

    • C) Social Cognitive/Social Learning Theory (Bandura, 1950s-on)

      • Including Copycat Effect, Desensitization, Cultivation

    • D) Priming (Berkowitz, 1960s)


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A) No Effects Perspective aggression?

Really, the only person who found substantial support for this was Joseph Klapper, who maintained that television only reinforces attitudes and behaviors that already existed (1960-on)


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B) Catharsis Theory aggression?

  • From Aristotle, Feshbach (1960s).

  • Says exposure to TV violence stimulates fantasy aggression, defusing aggressive impulses, thereby decreasing aggression in viewers.

  • Empirical evidence?

    • NO—evidence does NOT support catharsis! (at least with media and violence)

  • Under what conditions might catharsis occur?

    • individual differences (i.e., occurs for some, under some circumstances)?

    • video game violence?


C social cognitive theory l.jpg
C) Social Cognitive Theory aggression?

  • From Albert Bandura (1960s)

  • First called Social Learning Theory

  • Says children and others learn through observation

  • May imitate what they see vicariously (e.g., on television)

  • Empirical evidence: Bobo doll studies, others—generally support basic premise plus additional assumptions, e.g.,

    • Rewarded and unpunished violence more likely to be imitated.

    • Punished violence less likely to be imitated.


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Bobo Doll Studies aggression?


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Bobo aggression? Doll Studies—thoughts??


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More on Social Cognitive Theory aggression?

  • ALSO SEE NOTES from Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory: An Introduction (video) for more details!


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Social Cognitive Theory: The Triadic Model summary aggression?

  • The Triadic Model within the theory suggests that learning of behaviors is governed by three bi-directionally linked systems:

    • Personal determinants

    • Behavioral determinants

    • Environmental determinants

  • Personal examples???


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Social Cognitive Theory: Observational Learning summary aggression?

  • Attention

  • Retention/Symbolic representation

  • Reproduction/Transformation to action

  • Motivation to reproduce behavior

    • External incentives

    • Vicarious incentives

    • Self incentives

    • Observer attributes (internal standards, social comparison)

    • EXAMPLES OF THESE INCENTIVES???


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Therefore social cognitive theory… aggression?

  • Sees learning as being a largely cognitive process

  • And behavior is only the very end state

  • Watch Primetime Violence video for a review of the concerns of the 1990s and what we knew about violence effects by that point


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The Copycat Effect? aggression?

  • Some researchers have identified simple imitative effects, without specifying the cognitive or other mechanisms at work (e.g., Loren Coleman’s book on The Copycat Effect)

  • “Suicide clusters” have appeared since ancient times

    • The writer/historian Plutarch’s account of the imitative hangings of young women in Miletus in the 4th century BCE. . . News spread through word of mouth and songs of poets

    • Romans, Vikings, early Christians, Jews of the Middle Ages, modern teens have been the focus of study


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The Copycat Effect? aggression?

  • Other copycat violence has included:

    • Murders (e.g., Jack the Ripper, covered by newspapers)

    • Murder/suicides (e.g., “going postal,” school shootings)

  • The role of mass media has increased over time


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The Copycat Effect? aggression?

  • Sociologist David P. Phillips has devoted his career to the study of societal trends in violent and hazardous activities, including how media-covered events can result in imitation, using “archival” survey-type data:

    • First to conduct empirical studies to confirm the “Werther Effect” (from Goethe’s 1774 novel The Sorrows of Young Werther)

    • 1962—Death of Marilyn Monroe. . .U.S. suicide rate increase 12% in following month

    • 1973—Airline hijackings

    • 1979—Found increase in rate of automobile fatalities following publicized suicides. . . Also sig. by geographic region and age cohort

    • 1983—Impact of U.S. TV network coverage of championship boxing matches on homicide rates


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The Copycat Effect? aggression?

  • Sociologist Steven Stack has also examined imitative effects

    • 1977 suicide of actor Freddie Prinze produced higher suicide rates among individuals of similar age (22), ethnicity, gender

  • Importantly, some of these studies have identified an impact of non-news, fictional content:

    • Phillips (1982) identified increase in auto fatalities after soap opera suicides

    • Phillips & Paight (1987) found increase in suicides after TV movies about suicide


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Desensitization aggression?

  • Bandura sees this as part of Social Cognitive Theory

  • Others have studied it separately, e.g., DeFleur’s Creeping Cycle of Desensitization (textbook):

    • All media, news or entertainment, have a profit motive

    • Attractive media products emphasize the controversial—sex, violence, vulgarity

    • In the U.S., there are few legal restraints on this; rather, cultural norms define what is tolerable

    • Young audiences rule!

    • Thus, the “cutting edge” must become more extreme, more sensational

    • [We can assume that people become accustomed (i.e., desensitized) to this “extreme” violence, sex, etc.]


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Cultivation? aggression?

Although George Gerbner coined the term “Cultivation Theory” (recall—Gerbner’s “Mean World Syndrome”), such cognitive or perceptual effects were named as part of Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory

Remember that Bandura noted that TV violence “shapes viewers’ images of reality”


D priming theory l.jpg
D) Priming Theory aggression?

  • From Berkowitz and colleagues (late 60s)

  • Understood in terms of cognitive associations (recall—cognitive schema)

  • Says violent content “primes” related thoughts, placing hostile cognitions at the forefront of the mind.

  • Empirical evidence generally supports the theory, e.g.,

    • Anderson & Ford (1987)—experiment linked video game violence to hostility and anxiety

    • Bushman & Geen (1990)—experiment in which those who viewed a more violent movie listed more aggressive thoughts

    • Bushman (1998)—experiment finding video violence related to aggressive word choice


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Pt. #2: In summary, then: Does media violence affect viewers?

  • Answer: YES!

  • Surveys, experiments, longitudinal field studies, and meta analyses all point to a TV violence  aggression link.

  • Overall effect size larger than:

    • Condom use and HIV (-.18)

    • Passive smoking and lung cancer (.16)


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Four Major Claims about Media Violence viewers?

  • Pt. #1 -- There is a LOT of violence in the media.

  • Pt. #2 -- Exposure increases risk of harm.

  • Pt. #3 -- Not all portrayals pose same degree of risk.

  • Pt. #4 -- Not all viewers are similarly impacted.


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Pt. #3: Aggressive responses are MORE likely to occur when violence is:

  • Realistic.

  • Sanitized.

  • Justified.

  • Committed by attractive or similar others.

  • Rewarded.

  • Humorous.


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Realistic Violence (vs. fantasy) violence is:

.vs

???






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Humorous violence violence is:


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Four Major Claims about Media Violence violence is:

  • Pt. #1 -- There is a LOT of violence in the media.

  • Pt. #2 -- Exposure increases risk of harm.

  • Pt. #3 -- Not all portrayals pose same degree of risk.

  • Pt. #4 -- Not all viewers are similarly impacted.


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Pt. #4: “High-risk” media violence consumers include… violence is:

  • 1. Younger/less cognitively developed individuals

  • 2. Those with certain traits/personality predispositions

    • Trait aggression

    • Irritability

    • Psychoticism

  • 3. Those with social or emotional problems

    • Bullies and Victims

    • Lack of parental influence

  • 4. Those who consume a lot of media

  • 5. Those without alternative models