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Chapter 5 Priming Effects
Priming • A popular area of media effects research based upon the psychological principles of information processing by means of cognitive components.
Activation of Priming • When exposure to mediated communication activates related thoughts that have been stored in one’s mind • May cause a reaction with undesirable consequences • Copy cat crimes
Conceptual Roots • Cognitive neoassociation • Memory • Past experiences remembered • Semantically similar thoughts
Research Tradition Subtly introduce certain thoughts into the mind Test individuals to see the extent of the priming effect
Variables That Enhance Priming Effects • Intervening variables: • The perceived meaning of the communication • The perceived justifiability of the witnessed aggression • The extent to which audiences identify with the characters • The perceived reality of the mediated communication • The stimulus of prior experiences.
Perceived meaning L. Berkowitz and J. Alioto experiment (1973) Perceived justifiability Viewers of mediated violence are also influenced in their actions by the outcomes of the situations they see R. Goranson (1969) Variables That Enhance Priming Effects (Cont’d)
Character identification Identification with a character enhances priming effects. Turner & Berkowitz (1972) Perceived reality Priming effects are strongest when audiences believe that they are witnessing actual events. Variables That Enhance Priming Effects (Cont’d)
Variables That Enhance Priming Effects (Cont’d) • Memories of Prior Experiences • Remembering prior experiences strengthens the effects of priming
Theoretical Bases for Priming • Triadic reciprocal model: attempts to explain human behavior • Three components: • The person’s behavior • Cognitive, biological, or other personal factors • Environmental influences
Recency Vs. Frequency • Storage Bin Model • Recently primed concepts are strongest • Storage Battery Model • Emphasizes frequently primed concepts • Synapse View Model • Time determines whether recently or frequently primed concepts emerge as more important
Recent Research and Future Trends • Effects of mediated violence on the priming of aggressive thoughts • Priming effects through: • Playing video games • Watching sporting events • Viewing violent content • Music videos