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COUPIVATTON IN THE NEWER MEDIA EXVEROIOCENT Elizabeth M. Perso University of Delaware Department. of Communication Newark, Delawere 19716 (S02) 631-8042 Douglas A. Fexguson Bowling Green State University Department of Telecanmunications Bowling Green, Onto. 43403, a9) 31276007 Douglas M. Moteod university of Delavare Newark, Delaware 19736 302) 451-8028 Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Ma Conunication Association convention, Montreal. ‘This paper was recogni ted ‘a top-three paper by the Communication Theory and Mathodoloay Division August 1992 Abstract, Researchers who study television's cultivation affects believe that heavy television viewing exposes people to consistent massages that lead then £0 be more fearful and aistrustful of others, the widespread adoption and use of ‘new television technologies, such as cable, VCR, and renote control devices (Reds), however, tave the potential to alter cultivation effects, because new television technologies allow for greater programing diversity and greater viewer control. We conducted two studies to test the impact of cable, voRs, land RODS on fear cf crime and interpersonal mistrust, Both studies wore randon-digit-dialed telephone surveys of adults in two U.8. cities (study 1, M = 182) study 2, ¥ = 615). Me found mixed support for our hypotheses. Cable television bad a differential impact on cultivation effects. Increased exposure to brosdcast-type channels was Linked to greater cultivation. But, Ancreased exposure to more specialized and diverse cable channels wat negatively related to cultivation perceptions, VCR ownership also was Linked 0 less cultivation. The discussion suggests that mass communication researchers continse to explore the iapact of new television technologies on traditional media effects. culeivation 6 New Media CULTIVATION IN THE NEWER MEDIA ENVIRONMENT ‘The Cultural Indicators group holds that content analyses of television reveal that television's depiction of the world differs from reality ( Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, € Signorelli, 1986, for a sumary). There is more ‘crime on television than Ln zeal Life; women are underrepresented in television, as are the elderly and racial minorities. Yet, these groups are nore Likely to be victims of television crime. Building on these analyses, ‘the Cultural Indicators group argues that television “cultivates” an image of social reality congruent with television's images in heavy viewers of television, Television has this effect because television content. consistently devistes from reality and because television viewers are nonselective and uncritical (Gerbner & Gross, 1976). There Aa wice support for cultivation. Heavy television viewers are more likely to express alienation and fear of crime (Gerbner 6 Gross, 1976; Gerbner, Gross, Jackson-Beeck, Jeffrias-Fox, ¢ Signorielli, 1976; Gexbaer, Gross, Signorelli, Morgan, ¢ Jackson-Beeck, 1979). Cultivation effects nave bbeen observed in other areas connected to television content. Heavy viewers ‘are more Likely to describe their Lives as less satisfying (Morgen, 1984), see the elderly as feeble and ineffectuel (Gerbnes, Gross, Morgan, & Signoriellé, more sex-sterectyped beliefs (Morgan & Rothschild, 1983). 1980), end expr Several scholars have criticized the cultivation approach for methodological reasons and have axgued that the rest rch neglects the Anfluence of seversl intervening variables (see Rubin, Forse, & Teylor, 1968, for a suamary of those criticisms). other researchers have questioned the Celtural Indicator’s assumption that television viewing is nonselective (awkina 6 Pingroe, 1981; Potter & chang, 1990; Rubin et ai., 1986). In General, incorporating selective exposure to television costent increases che