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.


  1. My name is Maria Iyabi. I am a 200 level student of Caleb University Imota Lagos Nigeria studying Mass Communication. As a Mass Communicator there are several theories being studied and this theory happens to be one of them, the Reinforcement theory. It is basically poised on the fact that it possesses various characters that are either good or bad.The theory also proposes limited effects on its audience through the mass media and it can also not be relied upon. Nice article.

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