1..

Performing

*

of cultivation studies that examine the link between hours watched and dre tendency to give "television answers," Morgan and Shanahan discovered an average correlation of+.091. Given the large sample sizes used, this correlation is statistically significant 2. However, it is also a very weak connection 3. Given the importance ofthe issue, they believe this correlation directs scholars to study teledsion production and control. Demonstrating continued commitsnent to the issues addnjssed by cultivation theory, Gerbner founded the Cultural Environment Movement, a coalition of organizdions and social activists.
a meta-analysis

l.

5.

MINDS PLOWED BY TELEVISION GROW FEARFUL THOUGHTS

.i.

*

Gerbner seeks the "cultivation differential," which compares the attitudes of light and heavy viewers He focuses on four attitudes. 1 . Chances of involvement with violence-light viewers predict their weekly odds of being victimized at I /100, whereas heary viewers predict 1/10 2. Fear of walking alone at night-heavy viewers overestimate the danger by a factor often 3. Perceived activity of police-healry viewers overestimate the size of law enforcement by a factor offive 4. General mistrust of people-healy viewers are suspicious of others' motives (the mean world syndrome)

6. MAINSTREAMING

F F

l

Mainstreaming is the process by which healy viewers develop a commonality ofoutlook through constant exposure to the same images and labels Gerbner illustrates the mainstream effect by showing how television types blur economic and political distinctions I . They assume that they are middle class 2. They believe they are political moderates 3. In fact, healy viewers tend to be conservative (although they support social security, health, services, and education) Gerbner labels the general "mainstream" political outlook of hear,y viewers the "new populism," a position that aligns itself with the policies of former
President Reagan.

7. RESONANCE

y' / /

Resonance occurs when repeated symbolic portrayals ofviolence cause viewers to replay realJife experiences with violence over and over

Resonarce amplifies cultivation pattems Rather than focus on the few people who imitate television violence, Gerbner wa.nts to look at the large majonty ofpeople who are terrified by the world.

8. CRITIQUE: IS THE CULTIVATION DIFFERENTIAL REAL' LARGE' CRUCIAL?

.i.

Although Gerbner's basic claim makes intuitive sense, his theory and research methodology are controversial * Cultivation theory advocates Michael Morgan and James Shanahan argue that attacks on Gerbner's cultivation theory focus on "methodological minutia" and are polrtically motivated .1. Yet how do we interpret the consistent yet small relationship between hear'y television viewing and the belief in a mean and scary world?

CULTIVATION THEORY
I.INTRODUCTION

.

. . . o
2.

George Gerbner argues that heavy television viewing creates an exaggerated belief in a mean and scary world Gerbner emphasizes the symbolic content oftelevision drama Television has surpassed religion as the key storyteller in our culture Violence is television's principal message, and particularly for devoted viewers Although other media have violent content, television is the most significant.

AN INDEX OF VIOLENCE

o o o

Gerbner developed an objective measure for evaluating television violence He defined dramatic violence as the overt expression ofphysical force (with or without a weapon, against selfor others) compelling action against one's will on pain of being hurt andior killed or threatened to be so victimized as part of the plot Gerbner and his associates monitored incidences ofviolence on television for over twenty years.

3. EQUAL VIOLENCE, UNEQUAL RISK

. . . . . .

Gerbner found that the portrayal ofviolence varies little from year to year Over half of prime+ime programs contain violence or the threat of violence Two-thirds ofthe major characters are caught up in violence; heroes arejust as involved as villains OId people, children, Hispanics, African Americans, women, and blue-collar workers are more often victimized Television places marginalized people in symbolic double jeopardy by simultaneously under-representing and over-victimizing them Not surprisingly, marginalized people then exhibit the most fear of violence as a res u lt ofteletision progranrrrring.

4. ESTABLISHING A VIf,WER PROFILE.

r. + i. i

Gerbner used survey research to measure viewer behavior and attitudes because the nature ofthe cultivation hypothesis rules out experimental testing He distinguishes between light viewers (up to two hours per day) and heavy viewers (four or more hours per day), whom he calls "the television type." Light viewers watch particular shows, but television types aren't selective Cultivation theory suggests heary viewers will regard the world as more dangerous than light l iewers.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful