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Proactive Perspective on Media Effects

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Mike Mitchell

on 9 January 2013

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Transcript of Proactive Perspective on Media Effects

Proactive perspective on media effects We need to be proactive—rather than reactive—in understanding how the media affects us. This means taking ownership of our actions and choices relating to media messages as opposed to doing as told.

We also need to realize there are many factors interacting in the effects process. When we gain control over these two functions, we can control the process of media effects.

What does this mean? We need to put our newfound or more developed media literacy into action.
REACTIVE – It is Marilyn Manson’s music that caused Columbine. It is the internet’s fault that kids get into trouble online or find out how to do terrible things. Basically, the effect of the media is the cause of the action, not the choice of the indivdual.
PROACTIVE – We need to educate ourselves about the variety of messages found in the media. We need to put ourselves in a position to achieve positive effects and ignore negative effects.
Media Effects Are Constantly Occuring Manifested Effects Effects we can easily observe
Effects put into action or made visible
--Buying the product, changing your behavior Process Effects Effects that influence how we think, feel and act—may or may not be manifested
Movies—make you feel a heightened emotion or change in attitude. The effect is not manifested until you put it into action.
process the information presented, but not manifested until you engage in a different behavior because of those messages Baseline Effects vs. Fluctuation Effects Time Manifestation Level Fluctuations Baseline Baseline = Typical Degree of Risk or Behavior
Fluctuation Effects = Spikes in the baseline that dramatically change our risk level
Manifestation Level = Breaking point (water level) at which a fluctuation actually causes a change in Effect --Baseline and Fluctuation Effects are the PROCESSING EFFECTS, effects taking place below that breaking point Media effects usually only are discussed in terms of manifestation effects, effects that break past that certain level.

Baselines are shaped over long periods of time. Some people are close to the manifestation level others are far below it. If you are close to the manifestation level, you are easily influenced by media effects and they are manifested without much exposure.
Factors Influencing Media Effects Every day, factors are moving our baseline up and down, increasing and decreasing our risk and behavior Baseline Factors: Developmental Maturities --We mature cognitively, emotionally and morally as we age
--As we mature in these areas, we apply more sophisticated skills and can move our baseline closer to the manifestation level for effects we want and further away for those we don’t.
Our tastes mature over time and we can find enjoyment in different materials.

We are also less likely to be affected or drawn to messages that we know we are not into---Hate videogames, love romantic comedy/hate horror. you control how these media influence you and whether you will manifest behavior Cognitive Abilities Four relevant to media literacy—field dependency, type of intelligence, type of thinking and conceptual differentiation
Basically the more independence and intelligence you exhibit, the more likely you are to control your baseline levels Knowledge Structures People with the largest amount of knowledge learn the most from media.
When we are knowledgeable on a particular topic we have a strong knowledge structure
Motivated to acquire more info on various topics and seek out media that will provide them with that information
If our knowledge structures come only from media sources, this structure will be dominated by media generalizations and thoughts from the media world.

Experience dominates a message—if all you ever saw of life was Kardashians or Law and Order, you would have a certain view of what life is like for certain people. In reality, life for police officers, lawyers and even multi-millionaires can be very different from the portrayals on those shows.
Sociological Factors People who have been socialized with certain norms for a long period of time have a baseline that is resistant to change Pacifist Senior Citizen watches Matrix, Kill Bill, Fight Club.

Now think about an MMA fighting teenager watching the same films. How are the messages in these films going to affect each individual differently? We learn norms by observing people in real life and also through the media.

Characters communicate a great deal of social information to viewers—especially young children. Portrayal of people of different ethnicities in the media becomes influential.


Lifestyle Personal Locus Media Exposure Habits People with active, educated lifestyles are less influenced by media
Poor, undereducated, inactive individuals highly susceptible to media messages Strong personal locus gives us more awareness of the effects process and we can create a baseline that conforms to our personal goals We all have exposure habits that guide us to certain sets of messages
Think about the websites you surf and the patterns you search them in
People who play all violent videogames and watching action movies
Fluctuation Factors: Content of Messages What you take in will determine fluctuations toward or away from the manifestation level
Filling your head with aggressive behaviors or sexual material will drive your thinking one direction, while prosocial interactions and other messages will push it in a different direction
Context of Portrayals Are the characters rewarded for their actions and do we want to identify with those characters Cognitive Complexity of Content When a message is less demanding on our intelligence the meaning is easier to process
The more demanding the narrative, the harder it is to remember and comprehend the facts VS Motivations If people have a conscious need for a particular kind of information they will actively seek it out
Learn about filmmaking or NFL football you will go to those sources
States Our emotional states drive us to seek certain messages
Just got dumped vs. lets party
Movie with guys versus date night Degree of Identification We are attracted to characters and messages that we can identify with
--We judge characters based on how much the character is like us or how much the embody our values and beliefs
--We also engage in an “as if” experience and imagine ourselves in the role of the character

We identify with characters similar to us and also with characters that possess qualities we desire
This can lead to strong attachments to characters and an increased probability of these messages manifesting an effect Develop a Broad Perspective on Blame In a complex society, a single element rarely causes an effect
Influences work in combination

No influence is solely to blame but also none are to be completely absolved.
Control the Effects Process in Our Own Lives The key to controlling effects is understanding how they work and what factors influence those workings. Baselines are more important than fluctuations and we need to understand where they are in relation to our manifestation levels—this will help us bring them closer to that level for desired effects and further away from them for negative or undesirable effects. FIELD DEPENDENCE Field dependent people rely on information from the outer world (i.e. media sources to shape their decision making process.

Field independent people rely on inner knowledge (existing knowledge structures) to analyze things for themselves. TYPES OF INTELLIGENCE Logical-mathematical Relies on reasoning capabilities, recognizing abstract patterns, scientific thinking and investigation and the ability to perform calculations and analysis. Spatial This area deals with spatial judgement and the ability to visualize with the mind's eye. A spatial person is also good with puzzles. Linguistic People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates. They tend to learn best by reading, taking notes, listening to lectures, and by discussing and debating about what they have learned. Bodily-kinesthetic People who have bodily-kinesthetic intelligence learn better by involving muscular movement (e.g. getting up and moving around into the learning experience), rather than by reading or hearing about it. They are generally good at physical activities such as sports or dance. Musical This area has to do with sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, and music. Since there is a strong auditory component to this intelligence, those who are strongest in it may learn best via lecture. Interpersonal This area has to do with interaction with others. They communicate effectively and empathize easily with others, and may be either leaders or followers. They typically learn best by working with others and often enjoy discussion and debate. Intrapersonal This refers to having a deep understanding of the self; what your strengths/ weaknesses are, what makes you unique, being able to predict your own reactions/emotions. Philosophical and critical thinking is common with this intelligence. Naturalistic This area has to do with nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. Would be less affected by media as it is typically unnatural but there would be certain types of media that would gain their interest. Existential Spiritual, religious and philosophical thinkers. This level would affect they way we perceive media as it relates to our existence as human beings. CONCEPTUAL DIFFERENTIATION How do you categorize media?

BROAD/LEVELING - Entertainment, News, Ads
SPECIFIC/SHARPENING - Narrative film, documentary film. Commercial ads, Public Service Announcements. Action Shows, Reality Shows, Talk Shows, Cartoons, Sitcoms.

Levelers group things into the same category--i.e. all football games or Super Bowls are the same.
Sharpener focuses on differences - this years Super Bowl had these qualities that differentiate it from last years.
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