Unit 3 - The Effects Orientation

General Purpose:  To define, compare, and contrast the effects orientation 
with other approaches to mass communication.

Unit Outline

I.   Effects Perspective

     A.   Definition of Effects - how media messages influence the
            way people think, feel, and behave.

     B.   The Message Is The Message - no hidden message. 

     C.   Comparison to Other Disciplines - Journalism is concerned
            with legal issues, production orientation, etc. 
            Sociologists are concerned with cultural issues, etc.

     D.   Social Scientific Orientation 

          1.   Using theories
          2.   Quantitative orientation - look at numbers
          3.   Research orientation - scientific publications
	  4.   We want to know how people react

II.  Three Historical Effects Perspectives

     A.   Direct Effects:  Magic Bullet Theory

          Earliest theory (ran through approximately WWII - 1940's).
  Example -
          see it in the movie, bang you are influenced, can't do
          anything to fight it off.  Believed that media is a
          dangerous and powerful drug.

     B.  Indirect Effects:  The Paper Tiger 
	 (looks big and bad but shreds easily)

          After WWII through approximately Vietnam (1960's through early 1970's).
          Media influence is indirect.  Media messages observe what
          we do and is shown back to us. 
Example -
	Leave It To Beaver tells us how to behave as Americans

     C.  Powerful Effects, Limited Conditions

          During Vietnam War, studies were done on how TV violence
          effects kids.  Began to realize that people are
          influenced but in context (some minor and some major). 
          This is a combination of the direct and indirect.

     D.  The Effects Continuum

          Powerful, Direct                                 Weak, Indirect
				Powerful, but Limited

III. Process of Effects

     A.   How Does a Message Cause Anything? Messages aren't drugs
Receivers must react.

     B.   People Transform Messages into Meaning - we make meaning
           out of the messages.

     C.   Meaning then Stimulates Change (compare males and females on violence)

     D.   Message----------> Process-----------> Effect

     E.   Process Occurs within Person

IV.  What's a Theory?  A set of statements which defines concepts
        and their relationships. 

     A.   Media Theories - theories have to include the
            technological device and how they influence change.
		Tells us how this stuff works together

     B.   Modeling - monkey see, monkey do

          1.   A Great Story - Third graders see instant replay on
                TV then imitate on playground. Other examples: Beavis 
		and Butthead, The Program

          2.   Observation, Imitation, and Consequence 

               a.   Observe - see it
               b.   Imitate - try it
               c.   Consequence - it works or it doesn't 

          3.   Inhibition (stop) and Disinhibition (go) - acquire
                the behavior and the rules of inhibition and disinhibition 

		disinhibited- allowed to do something

		inhibited- when teacher walked in you stopped

          4.   Conclusions

               a.   Great media application - does not require a real model
               b.   Enormous research support - we are changed through modeling 
               c.   Strong behavioral change

     C.   Cultivation Theory (Gerbner et al., 1986) - media plants
            seeds in our minds, allow to grow, and then develop ideas

          1.   Description - long-term process of developing
                perception about reality based on consistent and
                uncontradicted media messages. 

          2.   Effect of "counter-evidence" - will destroy the
                cultivation effect. As soon as there's counter evidence 					perception is shattered

          3.   The Cultivation Differential - the more media you
                watch the more cultivation you get. 
          4.   Conclusions

               a.   Operates over long term process.
               b.   Contradictions in your own experience will
                     effect the cultivation theory. 
               c.   Cultivation theory works on changing the
                     thinking process.

V.   Researching Media Effects

     A.   Experiments - means of collecting data

          1.   Characteristics

               a.   random - no bias on how you select group 
               b.   control - independent variable, see what happens 
               c.   comparison - who's different compared to other group(s)

          2.   Advantages

               a.   can draw a causal statement
               b.   Control, so know what the people saw


               a.   not real, people act strange in the lab

     B.   Surveys

          1.   Characteristics

               a.   self report
               b.   large groups
               c.   complex analysis 

          2.   Advantages

               a.   cheap in terms of costs
               b.   very fast


               a.   will people tell you the truth 

     C.   Critical Issues

          1.   Realism of Research:  Ecological Validity - Can
                people believe it?  Did people lie to you?  artificial lab 
		setting creates a weird social situation.

          2.   Ethics and the Truth - Can do some experiments,
                like young kids and pornography.

VI.  Quantifying Media Effects

     A.   The Box Effect - see page 22

     B.   Example of Effect Sizes - see page 198-200

          1.   Small Effects - 10% (45:55)
          2.   Moderate Effects - 30% (35:65)
          3.   Large Effects - 50% (25:75)

VII. Media Effects Model

Source (encodes)                                         (decodes)
              ----> Message ----> Channel ----> Receiver
		thinking, feeling, behaving

     A.   Thinking - change thinking with new facts, beliefs, attitudes, etc.

     B.   Feeling 

          1.   immediate, emotions right now - short emotional states
          2.   long term mood states - depression

     C.   Behaving

          1.   Overt - can see it (observable), buy, vote, hit
          2.   Covert - can't see it:physiological, heart rate, 
		blood pressure; behavior change 

VIII.Total Effects Model - see page 24

IX.  Conclusions About Media Effects

     A.   Determine Amount and Direction of Effect - is anything
            going on?

     B.   Determine an Explanation for Effect - why did it happen
            (due to modeling or cultivation)

     C.   Importance of the Effects Depends

          1.   Statistical Amount - small, moderate, or large

          2.   Theoretical Significance - does it help us
                 understand the world better. does our research play a role
 		 in the theory

          3.   Practical Significance - how practical is it? 
                Example - does it affect voting, etc.

Back to Notes Table of Contents

Notes prepared by Teresa Jones, Spring, 1996 and Charlene McErlane, Spring 2000. Page created April 21, 1996; updated on October 26, 2000. Edited by Mike Lowry. Copyright © Teresa Jones and Steve Booth-Butterfield and Charlene McErlane and Mary Toale, 1996-2001.