Sunday, September 19, 2010

Reinforcement and Schema Theories

Reinforcement Theory suggests that we posses many different behaviors and act on the ones that are rewarded and do not act on the ones that will consequence in punishment. It also states that a behavior is extinguished if there are no consequences, good or bad. With regards to media, if a person views a character on television doing an act that is rewarded, they will find this act good and do it in their own life. On the other hand if they see the character do something that has a negative consequence, they will avoid the behavior in their own life. If the person has a behavior that they use in their everyday life, but doesn't see people in the media engaging in the same behavior, then the person is likely to stop doing the behavior.
The Schema Theory states that everyone has an organized knowledge of how to think about something or how to act in a certain situation. Since a schema is created through previous knowledge, some people create schemas from what they see on television or on the internet. For example, if someone has never endured a bank robbery (which hopefully none of us have) then we learn about the situation through the media. Our schema for a bank robbery becomes what the television or internet showed us was a bank robbery.

Choosing our media and how it will affect us

Socialization theory suggests that television teaches us about our world and where we fit in it. It can be seen as a person's introduction into our social life. This theory can be helpful to children or those in a culture other than their own to see how it is socially acceptable to act.

The Uses and Gratifications Theory says that audiences play an active role in choosing the media they will be subjected to and will be gratified by this media. This theory argues that audiences aren't passive and will choose media that will benefit them. An example of this is how we search for different topics on the internet. One may be using the internet to find local news while the other is playing on Facebook to avoid studying.

Agenda Setting Theory tells us that the media tells us what to think about by their placement of a story and the amount of attention given to a particular topic. Let's say your local news station first showed a 15 minute story covering local crimes and then a 5 minute story covering pollution in the city. Which topic would seem like a more prominent problem? The crime in the city would seem like a bigger issue because it was presented first and for a longer period of time. This can be viewed as the media shaping our reality by creating topics of more importance than others. The video below gives a brief description of the Agenda Setting Theory.

Modeling Theory and Cultivation Theory

Modeling Theory suggests that we model our behavior after what we hear or see in mediated messages. This can be a good thing if what they are modeling themselves after is a positive role model but it can be bad if it is an unpleasant action or bad role model. This theory can also be negative because if everyone is modeling themselves based on the same thing, there would be nothing unique about us.

Cultivation Theory, developed by George Gerbner, says that television shapes our perception of reality. An example of this theory is if viewers watch a large amount of violence on television, they perceive our world as more dangerous than it really is. This is called the "mean world syndrome". Cultivation Theory tells us that some people watch outrageous shows on television and see them as reality when in fact they aren't even close to our reality. The video below displays how cultivation theory can occur in real life.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Desensitization Theory vs. Sensitization Theory

I find two of the most interesting theories to be the Desensitization Theory and Sensitization Theory. The Desensitization Theory states that there is so much violence on television that viewers become less sensitive to the violence. The Sensitization Theory explores the exact opposite opinion by stating the large amount of violence on television will traumatize viewers and result in them being more sensitive to violence.

The video below is a great example of the Desensitization Theory in our culture. It not only talks about violence on television, but also drug use and our perception of women.

Disinhibition Theory gets the best of us.

Do you think that your actions always coincide with your morals and ethics? According to the Disinhibition Theory, our inhibitions may be thwarted due to mass media. An example of this is the way people act on the internet. The fact that people can remain anonymous while writing on the internet causes some to say things that they wouldn't normally say to someone face to face.

I thought the video below is pretty funny. A man is apologizing for how he writes online because it has been offending people.

Theories of Uniform Influence and Theories of Selective Influence

The Theories of Uniform Influence, also called the Magic Bullet Theory or Hypodermic Theory, states that the media has a direct and immediate influence on audiences and all audiences will react and be impacted in the same manner.
The Theory of Uniform Influence includes the Uniform Effects Theory. Payne Fund Studies researched movies' effect on children. The studies found the content of movies negatively influenced the children's attitude and behavior. The experiments were later deemed invalid because of their lack of control groups and other factors that would give the experiment validity(Ash). Some parents still have the fear of negative side effects of television on their children. Many parents believe that their children react more violently after watching television shows such as "Power Rangers".

The Theory of Uniform Influence was disproved during the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Researchers found that the public was unaffected by the propaganda of the election. This resulted in other uniform theories to emerge such as Theories of Selective Influences and Limited Effects Theory.

Theses theories of selective influences state that because of our unique differences, society will interpret and respond to media in different ways.
These theories also state that society also has the choice to respond or not to respond to media at all.