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Cultivation Theory and Reality Television

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on 3 December 2013

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Transcript of Cultivation Theory and Reality Television

Cultivation Theory
and Reality Television

Importance of the topic
The Girl Scout Research Institute recently conducted a survey of more than 1,100 girls around the country.
Those who watched Reality TV were far more likely to agree with these statements:

“You have to lie to get what you want”
“Being mean earns you more respect than being nice”
“You have to be mean to others to get what you want”
“Gossiping is a normal part of a relationship between girls”
“It’s in girls’ nature to be catty and competitive with one another”
“It’s hard for me to trust other girls”
Mean World Syndrome?
Main Points
History of Cultivation Theory and Criticisms of the Theory

Examples of Contemporary Uses, Literature Review

My Research Proposal

Theoretical foundation
History-The Cultivation Theory was coined in the 1960s by George Gerbner and Larry Ross, professors of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. They believed that TV viewers would absorb common themes on TV shows into their social reality. They divided TV viewers into 3 groups, light, medium and heavy viewers. Most of the studies were conducted on light and heavy viewers.

The Mean World Syndrome theory developed out of the research when it was found that those who watched a lot of television over estimated rates of crime. This phenomena occured even despite geographics. Says we become desenstized to violence.

Criticism- The Reinforcement Theory says the media does not shape our beliefs it simply reinforces the beliefs we already have.

Gerbner created no differentiation for viewing, example different genres of shows and different effects

Should Genre specific effects still be called cultivation?

Critics such as Michael Hughes and Paul Hirsch believed Gerbner's research was inaccurate and oversimplified. “Hughes felt television in American society may be related to the diffusion of culture and to alterations in social structure, both of which affect the behavior of virtually all persons regardless of how much television they watch". (Elolf, Durie, McKain & Patterson).

Individual or Group?




Analysis/Contemporary Uses
Acculturation, Cultivation, and Day time TV Talk Shows (2003)
Found daytime talk shows focused mainly on family conflict, sexual activity, and dating.
Found if watched these shows international students would “have more negative attitudes toward human relationships in the United States” and “have more negative perceptions of human relationships in the United States”
What could this mean for international relations?

Television’s Role in the Culture of Violence toward Women: A Study of Television Viewing and the Cultivation of Rape Myth Acceptance in the United States (2011)

Found general television consumption is significantly related to first and second order rape myth beliefs for both men and women.
Research Problem/ Application
I am interested in focusing specifically on the genre of Reality Television. Perhaps what draws me to this Genre is the use of the term “Reality”. The Cultivation theory states that people absorb what they see on television in their social realities, and here we have a type of television that actually claims to be reality.

African American Stereotypes in Reality Television
The author of this study analyzed 10 Reality shows and found that more than half (58%) of the African American participants analyzed fit into at least one stereotype of the stereotypes she defined. The angry Black woman stereotype was the most common and found in 6 of the 10 shows.
Jennifer O'Toole
Mass Communication

Concludsion
Cultivation is a fairly new theory (1960's) and with the development of new technology effects can not be fully seen just yet. Some people disagree with the theory and feel it overestimates the medias power.
A lot of research has been done recently but much more needs to be done.


The common theme I see in Reality Television
is the use of STEREOTYPES. While studies have
been done to determine what Stereotypes are
included in these shows none have been done
to determine if people are cultivating them.
I would propose a study in which Reality TV viewers and non-viewers would be asked to agree or disagree with a set of stereotypical statements. An example of this would be, Black women have bad tempers and fight a lot. Or Women are emotional and cry a lot
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