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Andrew Jeppesen

on 28 March 2013

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Cultivation Theory Andrew Jeppesen
Jacob Partridge
Jared Lynton Introduction -The Theory of Cultivation was theorized by Hungarian- born George Gerbner
-Dean Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania
-Died in 2005 The Question The Answer -It might have to do with how much television you watch!

-George Gerbner claimed that people who spend large
amounts of time in front of the television, develop a belief
that the world is a "mean and scary place."

-He also added that violence on the screen cultivates a "social paranoia," which removes notions of trust or safety Television as a Force -Gerbner saw the TV as the dominant force which shapes our society

-According to him, the power of TV comes from the symbolic content of the real life shows that we view

-Since we let television tell us the stories, we believe that what we see is a coherent picture of our society Cultivation Works Like a Magnetic or Gravitational Pull How can we understand exactly how this happens? The Cultivation process is similar to the pull of a gravitational Field. Shrum Said... Judging the World Around Us Mainstreaming: Blurring, blending, and bending of viewer attitudes The television answer is the mainstream. Survey respondents were asked two types of questions: RESEARCH ON CULTIVATION ANALYSIS Cultivation Takes Time. Gerbner believed the process as one that unfolds gradually through the steady accumulation of TV’s messages.

Change due to cultivation takes place over months and years.

Experiments measure changes over a period of 30 or 60 minutes and thus could not detect the sort of changes he sought to document.

This is why the strategy for performing cultivation analysis relies on surveys instead of experiments. Light TV Viewers vs. Heavy TV Viewers Most of Gerbner’s work established a self-report for two hours a day as the upper limit of light viewing. 1. The first type focused on reports of TV exposure so that Gerbner could distinguish between heavy and light viewers;

2. The second focused on perceptions of social reality that he thought media might cultivate. Once measured, the responses could be correlated to find out if heavy viewers perceive the world as a scarier place than light viewers do. Light Viewers Gerbner’s basic prediction Heavy TV viewers would be more likely than light viewers to see the social world as resembling the world depicted on TV. Gerbner’s strategy for testing this prediction was simple. Heavy Viewers Heavy Viewers: Those who watch four hours or more of TV a day. Heavy TV Viewers Gerbner also referred to heavy viewers as the television type. He saw this as a more benign term than couch potato with its allusion to either a steady diet of television and potato chips or a vegetable with many eyes. THE MAJOR FINDINGS OF CULTIVATION ANALYSIS Gerbner believed that violence is the backbone of TV drama and knowing that people differ in how much TV they watch, he sought to discover the cultivation differential. Cultivation Differential Gerbner referred to cultivation differential rather than media effects because the latter term implies a comparison between before-TV exposure and after-TV exposure.

Gerbner, however, believed there is no before-television condition because television enters people’s lives in infancy. Findings from Gerbner's Surveys 1. Positive correlation between TV viewing and fear of criminal victimization.

2. Perceived activity of police.

3. General mistrust of people. Positive correlation between TV viewing and fear of criminal victimization. As TV viewing increases, so does the tendency for fear of victimization. Weekly Odds of Being a Victim Light Viewers:
Heavy Viewers:
Actual: 1 out of 100
1 out of 10
1 out of 10,000 Positive correlation between TV viewing and fear of criminal victimization. One meta-analysis estimated the average correlation over 82 different studies to be consistently small, but positive (r = +0.09)

This indicates that as TV viewing increases, there is a tendency for fear of victimization to increase as well. Meta Analysis: A statistical procedure that blends the results of multiple empirical and independent research studies exploring the same relationship between two variables (e.g., TV viewing and fear of violence). The difference in the percentage giving the “television answer” within comparable groups of light and heavy TV viewers. Cultivation Differential: Positive correlation between TV viewing and fear of criminal victimization. Since correlations can range from 0.0 to 1.0, a value of 0.09 is certainly on the small side.

But in most of the studies, the correlation was large enough to conclude that the relationship was not just a chance finding. Perceived activity of police What They Believe Heavy Viewers: 5 percent of society is involved in law enforcement
Cops draw their guns almost every day Light Viewers: 1 percent of society is involved in law enforcement, which is a more realistic figure. General Mistrust of People Heavy viewers subscribe to statements that warn people to expect the worse: “Most people are just looking out for themselves.” “In dealing with others, you can’t be too careful.” “Do unto others before they do unto you.”
General Mistrust of People Gerbner called this cynical mindset the mean world syndrome. Mean World Syndrome: The cynical mindset of general mistrust of others subscribed to by heavy TV viewers. The evidence suggests that the minds of heavy TV viewers are fertile ground for sowing thoughts of danger. CRITIQUE: HOW STRONG IS THE EVIDENCE OF THE THEORY? Critics are not convinced that cultivation research establishes the causal claim that heavy TV viewing leads a person to perceive the world as mean and scary. It could make just as much sense to interpret the relationship the other way—fear of crime causes people to watch more TV. - After all, most TV shows depict a just world in which the bad guys get caught in the end. - Testability is seen as low because there is a lack of longitudinal studies. CRITIQUE: HOW STRONG IS THE EVIDENCE OF THE THEORY? Longitudinal Studies can take months or years to complete.
“Publish or perish” means scholars don’t want to wait that long to collect results.
Thus, cultivation studies of this type are virtually nonexistent. Cultivation effects tend to be statistically small. CRITIQUE: HOW STRONG IS THE EVIDENCE OF THE THEORY? Imagine an entire pie that represents all the fear of crime that is measured in a cultivation questionnaire.

The amount of the pie that researchers can attribute to watch TV might be just a single bite.

Conversely, supporters of the theory point out that tiny statistical effects can be crucial. Consider.. A one percent swing in voting patterns in 3 of the last 13 presidential elections would have resulted in a different person being elected.

A change in the average temperature of just a single degree could have catastrophic consequences for our planet. CRITIQUE: HOW STRONG IS THE EVIDENCE OF THE THEORY? The theory must adapt to the new media environment of cable and satellite. When Gerbner formulated his theory decades ago, there were only three major networks. The vast offerings of today’s cable and satellite menu were unimaginable.
Critics contend that Gerbner’s original assumption that TV viewers are constantly exposed to the same images and labels is no longer true.
This is the longest “critique section” found in our textbook. Theories that have been around longer sustain more attacks than those just recently hatched. Glenn Sparks is another media effects scholar. He suggests to see the metaphor as follows:
Imagine a table of billiard balls that are made of metal, with the cue ball (TV) possessing magnetic properties. Regardless of where the other balls (individual viewers) are positioned on the table, they won't all move toward the magnetic cue ball at the same angle and speed--but they will all be susceptible to the pull of the magnet to some degree.
TV's influence is not the same on every viewer, but all are affected by it. Professor L.J. Shrum believes that people make judgments about the world around them based on what comes to mind most quickly — the information that is most accessible. Accessibility Principle:
When people make judgements about the world around them, they rely on the smallest bits of information that come to mind most quickly. Quiz Time! The research of Gerbner and others shows that the dramatic violence on television is a significant factor behind the actual violence committed by habitual viewers. True


False Answer: FALSE! Quiz Time! Gerbner's defines light viewers as people who watch TV A. less than one hour per day.
B. no more than one hour per day.
C. no more than two hours per day.
D. no more than three hours per day. Answer: C. no more than two hours per day. Quiz Time! Gerbner called the cynical mindset that occurs in heavy televisions viewers A. narrowcast.
B. mean world syndrome.
C. resonance.
D. None of the above is correct Answer: B. mean world syndrome. Quiz Time! Gerbner believes that TV is important to study because it A. changes the common language.
B. is a dominant force in shaping modern society.
C. it has turned the world into a global village.
D. None of the above is correct Answer: B. is a dominant force in shaping modern society. Quiz Time! ___________ are harmed on TV at a greater rate than middle-aged adults. A. Teens and children

B. Senior citizens and teens

C. Young adults and teens

D. Old people and children Answer: D. Old people and children To explain what Shrum is saying about the accessibility principle, this clip will help shed some light on the subject, and go over future information. Quiz Time! Gerbner defines heavy viewers as those who watch TV A. more than two hours per day
B. more than three hours per day
C. four or more hours per day
D. None of the above is correct Answer: C. four or more hours per day Quiz Time! People who watch between two and four hours of TV per day make up ___ percent of the population. A. 25
B. 40
C. 50
D. 60 Answer: C. 50 This is Gerbner's term he uses to explain one of his propositions that guided his thinking about cultivation. Quiz Time! Critics call for a(n) __________ study to confirm Gebner’s theory. A. longitudinal
B. random sampling
C. national survey
D. None of the above is correct Answer: A. longitudinal Quiz Time! Gerbner’s findings demonstrate that heavy viewers are likely to A. think that violent crime is more likely to happen to them than is actually the case.
B. believe that police officers draw their weapons more often than is the case.
C. have an increased distrust of other people in general.
D. All of the above are correct Answer: D. All of the above are correct Quiz Time! Gerbner uses the term "mainstreaming" to describe the mechanism that affects heavy TV viewers who have already been victims of violence. True


False Answer: False Quiz Time! Gerbner found that people who are heavy TV viewers overestimate real-life violence by at least 10 times what it actually is. True


False Answer: True Quiz Time! The resonance hypothesis explains A. why some people are considered light TV viewers and others are not.
B. why levels of violence on TV remain remarkably stable from year-to-year.
C. the basis of the cultural indicators used in Gerbner's research.
D. why many people who watch lots of TV find the world an extra scary place. Answer: D. why many people who watch lots of TV find the world an extra scary place. -What are the odds that you'll be involved in some kind of violent act within 7 days?

-1 in 10?

-1 in 100?

-1 in 1000? Quiz Time! Gerbner believes that heavy viewers create a unified community of paranoid citizens, a process he calls resonance. True


False Answer: False Quiz Time! When they are portrayed on TV, _________ are victimized more often than whites. A. Blacks
B. Hispanics
C. Asians
D. a and b Answer: D. a and b Quiz Time! __________________ is the condition that exists when viewers’ real-life environment is like the world of television. A. Resonance
B. Mainstreaming
C. Cultivation differential
D. The TV ratings system Answer: A. Resonance Quiz Time! By the time the typical viewer graduates from high school, Gerbner predicts that he or she will have seen _______ deaths portrayed on TV. A. 7,000
B. 10,000
C. 13,000
D. 15,000 Answer: C. 13,000 Quiz Time! For Gerbner, a heavy TV viewer is one who watches at least fours a day. True


False Answer: True Quiz Time! Gerbner’s focus is on TV’s portrayal of A. sex.
B. money.
C. purchasing products.
D. violence. Answer: D. violence. Quiz Time! Gerbner reports that dramas that include violence show _______ traumatic events per viewing hour. A. 3
B. 5
C. 7
D. 10 Answer: B. 5 Quiz Time! Studying TV for the past two decades shows that portrayals of violence have A. stayed about the same.
B. sharply increased.
C. sharply decreased.
D. moderately increased. Answer: A. stayed about the same Final Question The process by which heavy TV viewers from disparate groups develop a common outlook through constant exposure to the same images and labels. Television homogenizes its audience so that those with heavy viewing habits share the same orientations, perspectives, and meanings with each other. Who told the story before TV? -Faith Communities What does this mean?
Gerbner explained that The "television answer" is the mainstream. Symbols now come from the Screen -Gerbner claimed that people now watch television as they might attend church

-"Except that most people watch television more religiously..."

-What kind of symbols are we seeing on the screen in our day?

-What is the most common/popular symbol on the TV? If you watch the news, what news channel do you watch? Violence Pays -According to Gerbner, violence is the cheapest staple on television

-"Violence is the simplest and cheapest dramatic means to
demonstrate who wins in the game of life and the rules by which
that game is played."

-The Hunger Games, Braveheart, The Patriot, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Spiderman, Avatar, 24, CSI, Law and Order, too many for this presentation!
Who enjoys this? Violence on the mind -Many activists in our day only target what they think violence does, that it affects young viewers by encouraging aggressive behavior

-Gerbner was more concerned that violence affects the viewers beliefs about the world in which they live, and the feelings connected to those beliefs

-If you as a viewer come to believe that the world is full of crime, you are more likely to feel afraid of engaging in that world. Gerbner illustrates the mainstream effect by showing how television types blur economic and political distinctions.

Findings of heavy viewers:
1. They assume that they are middle class.
2. They believe they are political moderates.
3. In fact, heavy viewers tend to be conservative. Traditional differences diminish among people with heavy viewing habits. Resonance: The TV world looks like my world,
so it must be true. Like the metaphor, if the balls are closer to the cue ball, those viewers whose real-world environment is very much like the world of TV. Just like magnets, those who are closer to the magnet, are much like the reality that TV portrays. Those who are further away from the magnet show less likeliness of TV portrayal. Resonance: The condition that exists when viewers' real-life environment is like the world of TV; these viewers are especially susceptible to TV's cultivating power. To sum up the concept of more TV viewing equals more conditioning. -Schools A close example -Meet Scott, my brother-in-law Institutional Process Analysis The First Prong Institutional Process Analysis -Violence is cheap and easy to produce, and speaks in a universal language to people all over the globe

-Gerbner believed that violence is popular because Hollywood is only interested in exporting the cheapest product for the maximum profit at the minimum cost
Message System Analysis The Second Prong An Index of Violence -Gerbner's content analysis was designed to uncover exactly how violence was depicted on TV

-This required Gerbner to specify exactly what he meant by "violence"

Dramatic Violence -Gerbner defined dramatic violence as:

"The overt expression or serious threat of physical force as part of the plot

-This definition rules out verbal abuse, idle threats, and pie in the face slapstick

-But remember, it includes the physical abuse presented in a cartoon format Equal Risk, Unequal Risk -The cumulative portrayal of violence varies little from year to year

-More than half of prime time programs contain bodily harm or threatened violence

-Dramas that include violence average five traumatic incidents per viewing hour, Children's cartoons average 20 per hour

-By the time a viewer graduates from High School, he or she has observed 13,000 violent deaths The Cultivation Theory In Recent Years -Scholarship that penetrates behind the scenes of media organizations in an effort to understand what policies or practices might be lurking there

-This first "plug" of Gerbner's framework is only concerned with why the media produces the messages they do. Over 125 studies have been published since 2000
As of 2010, over 500 studies directly relevant to cultivation have been published
Cultivation is one of the three most-cited theories in mass communication research published in key scholarly journals from 1956 to 2000 Gerbner's Definition of Cultivation Analysis ‘‘study of the relationships between institutional processes, message systems, and the public assumptions, images, and policies that they cultivate’’ Equal Violence, Unequal Risk -This affects ethnicity as well

-African Americans and Hispanics are beaten or killed more than their Caucasian counterparts

-It's also dangerous to be female, as they portray the "damsel in distress" Cultivation Analysis The Third Prong Cultivation Analysis Gerbner's Definition of Cultivation Analysis ‘‘study of the relationships between institutional processes, message systems, and the public assumptions, images, and policies that they cultivate’’ -Scholarship that involves careful, systematic study of TV content, usually employing content analysis as a research method

-Gerbner used the quantitative content analysis method, which looked at the number of violent programs on TV

-The method though designed for violence, can be used to study other symbols on the television -Research designed to find support for the notion that those who spend more time watching TV are more likely to see the "real world" through TV's lense -This analysis deals with how TV’s content might affect viewers

-The concept of "cultivation" thus refers to the independent contribution television viewing makes to audience members' conception of social reality. Television viewing cultivates ways of seeing the world-those who spend more time "living" in the world of television are more likely to see the "real world" in terms of the image, values, portrayals, and ideologies that emerge through the lense of Television."

-James Shanahan, Nancy Signorielli, and Michael Morgan
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