Essay plans on the effect media has on behaviour

Outline and evaluate the effect of media on anti-social behaviour (24 marks)


Definition of anti-social behaviourAnti-social behaviour is behaviour that lacks consideration for others and may cause damage to the society, whether intentionally or through negligence

Commentary among the relationship between the media and the production of anti-social behaviour amongst findings from recent years of studies. Many studies have demonstrated an association between television viewing and subsequent aggression amongst viewers for viewers, yet no clear-cut answers have yet emerged about how television/media has such an influence.


Cultivation theory by Gerbner et al. (1986) The idea that TV provides a systematically distorted view of reality (e.g. shows a higher extent of negative news. In result, that Long term TV viewing causes viewers attitudes to become similarly distorted, (e.g. the viewer believes that more violent crimes exists and they are in more danger of suffering the effects of that crime than for say positive experiences) -in result the distortion is the cultivation effect.
Cognitive PrimingIs the activation of the existing aggressive emotions, (e.g explains why children observe one kind of aggression on TV and commit another kind of aggressive act afterwards). The idea that immediately after a violent programme the viewer is primed to respond aggressively because a network of memories involving that aggressive feeling is retrieved. In result frequent exposure to such material can lead to children storing scripts for aggressive behaviour in their memories, which can be recalled later on. (but not everyone will suffer from this effect)
Desensitisation The idea that media violence may stimulate aggressive behaviour by desensitising children to the effects of violence, by the frequent exposure to such violent material. In result of frequent exposure to violence the child for example becomes less sensitive to violence and in result the more acceptable aggressive behaviour becomes for that exposed child. In result the child that becomes desensitised to such violent behaviour is more likely to engage in violence themselves-anti social behaviour.

Shrum, Wyer and O’Guinn (1998) Cultivation TheoryShowed that if viewers’ attention was drawn to the fact that much of their information came from TV, they did not show the cultivation effect, showing that not everyone carries out anti-social behaviour due to exposure of violent material.


Josephson (1987)Demonstrated the importance of cognitive priming amongst the occurrence of violent behaviour, through hockey players who were frustrated then shown either a violent or non violent film where an actor held a walkie-talkie. In subsequent hockey game the boys behaved more aggressively if they had seen the violent film where the referee was holding a walkie talkie. In result the walkie talkie acts as a cue for aggression. – support
Cumberbatch (2001)Argues that because we get ‘used’ to violence being screened throughout the media does not mean that a person will also get used to it amongst reality. Therefore he claims that screen violence is more likely to frighten those exposed children then desensitise them.


AID Those who live in areas of considerable crime rates may see anti-social behaviour as a reality/norm behaviour therefore are more likely to carry out anti-social behaviour due to their exposed environment than those who don’t.

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