Almost everything we, as Americans, know and believe, comes
directly from news sources and advertisements. From our actions it seems as
if we no longer need any evidence to support the media's claims, for we
have turned the media into our new god and we believe just about everything
the media says, with out giving a second thought. Not only do we believe
into everything the media tells us to, we also adapt TV into our life and
many people feel as if the media is largely responsible for the
transforming of cultural ideals and attitudes. On the other hand, many
people argue as well, that there has been no conclusive evidence that
support such claims. In the 1960's many people were exasperated with the '
effects' approach to media research because they felt as if they were not
getting anywhere. There were many loop holes and the effects research model
contained serious problems in terms of measuring and evaluating human
response to media exposure.
Human behavior is very complicated and can not be monitored like
rats can in a laboratory. Humans will act differently in every setting and
it is very difficult to get a natural response in an unnatural environment.
If a person is used to viewing TV in their own home, on their own beaten up
couch, their response level will be very different than it would be in an
empty room with a two way mirror. Not only will their awareness level be
raised, they may be more concerned in the changed viewing environment and
less on the television programs. In a person's home they may watch TV with
a high or low awareness level for the program. Some people choose to watch
TV just as a background noise while others may be quite into the program.
Due to these different levels of awareness it is hard to see what people
get out of TV in a controlled setting. It is just very hard to isolate TV
from other variables.
People react in many ways towards television viewing. Often it much
easier to view changes in behavior in younger children. When a small child
watches a violent television show like 'Power Rangers,' they often imitate
the heroes and begin to punch and kick pretending to 'kill evil villains,'
the children may not realize that they are in fact demonstrating a new
violent behavior, however, they in fact are. Other times, violent
television shows can change us very subtlety, perhaps in just the way we
think about things. If a person watches a TV show about gang violence, an
individual may not necessarily go out and join a gang, however they may
view gangs differently and their behavior towards gangs may change. A
problem with this second reaction is that a behaviorist researcher may not
see the change, thus concluding that no reaction has taken place when in
fact one has.
Another major problem with the effects research is in the way the
media views the public. The fact is that each individual comes to watch ...
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