#2 — The ‘Media Effects’ Model

This week’s topic: the ‘Media Effects’ model!

The ‘Media Effects’ model is based on erroneous assumptions that the audience are passive and impressionable recipients of media messages, when in reality, most consumers of media are independent, discerning, self-directed thinkers. The basis of this faulty assumption, the transmission model, is similarly flawed as it is an over-simplified perspective on communication. The path of communication is rarely ever as linear as this model claims. Individuals have different ways of ‘decoding’ and interpreting messages, and how they choose to respond to the information thereafter also depends on their distinctive values and principles. Thus, the ‘Media Effects’ tradition is fallacious.

Moving on to the topic of media anxiety — I believe this is caused by the dystopian views inspired whenever a new form of media comes into use by the masses. Numerous and various experiments have been conducted over the years, attempting to prove a causal relationship between the media and its audience. Often, conclusions drawn from these experiments are inaccurate and highly misleading. For example, in Bandura’s Bobo Doll experiment, children who were still unable to grasp the concept of reality were used. They were provided with violent tools and shown a video depicting violence which they had misunderstood as instructions, hence their violent behavior after viewing it. Yet, the conclusion that watching violence would induce violent behavior was drawn, and this proceeded to misguide the public into thinking that there is indeed a causality, ‘confirming’ the dystopian views and fueling the anxiety.

Finally, I believe that the notion of ‘television makes us fat’ is a myth. The causes of obesity range from biological factors like genetic predisposition to social factors like social eating. Physical factors including diet and level of activity also play a large role, and while watching television is a sedentary activity, that in itself is not the cause of obesity. It has to be combined with a number of other factors to actually cause obesity.

That’s all for this post! 🙂

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4 thoughts on “#2 — The ‘Media Effects’ Model

  1. Yes I definitely agree to the fact that the media effect assumes that we the audience are passive and that we do not really have a brain of our own to think thus we tend to follow or do what the media tells us to but that is totally not true because we can make a decision of our own. Also it is true that one message may be interpreted differently according to individual opinion and it is their choice how they want to respond.
    Indeed media anxiety is inspired by the dystopian view because we believe that the media can cause more harm than good to the society which is a false allegation because we have a choice at the end of the day.
    Yes the television is not to be blamed for one being fat it is always a choice its either you choose to munch in front of the TV or do some exercise. Physical activity and lifestyle plays a very important role in obesity as well. Thus I agree with your point of view.
    Good read!

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  2. It was an interesting post that you had wrote. I agree with you that the audiences are independent , discerning and self-directed thinkers. They are different from the past now because the first thing they know is what message that suit them.Regarding the media anxiety, individual thinking, emotion and knowledge could be part of the experiments to be inaccurate and misleading. Family background could be one of the factors. Biological and physical factors had been a good point mentions.

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  3. Here is the edited post from my previous comment.

    It was an interesting post that you had written. Besides this model is based on erroneous assumptions, there is also a backward approach. I believe that we as human being are active audience of the media messages. Everyone had different point of view whereby we can make our own choices in decision making.

    I agree with you that the audiences are independent, discerning and self-directed thinkers. They are different from the past now because the first thing they know is what message that suit them. According to the example that you had stated in the paragraph, we can know that experiment can be incorrect and it may be hypothesis in it.

    Regarding the media anxiety, individual thinking, emotion and knowledge could be part of the experiments to be inaccurate and misleading. Audience can be cause by media anxiety can also due to dependence of what television shown. Beside violence displaying on the media, there is a reading that I found online stated that social media also cause media anxiety. Social media like facebook, Instagram and twitter will post picture or text that may hurt individual emotion which eventually lead to anxiety.

    Biological and physical factors had been a good point mentions. I agree with you television do make us fat where it cause us to gain some weight. Individual could spend more than a day in front of the television like what I did almost all the time during weekend. Family background could be one of the factors and social factors could also be peer influence or the company of friend we had friend with. In addition, the experiences or the pre-knowledge that we had learnt may affect our mindsets or thinking.

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  4. Well-written post, Rachael!

    Firstly, I agree with your viewpoint that audiences, in reality, have minds of their own instead of just absorbing what the media says mindlessly, and they will respond according to their values and principles. Perhaps this is due to influences e.g. religion, parents and friends, among other possible reasons. As for the communication model, it is indeed not as simple as going from info source, to transmitter, to channel, to receiver, and finally to destination because of the varying ways the sender and receiver can interpret the message, such as the sender meaning an exclamation mark in a text message as excitement, while the receiver interpreting it as anger.

    Next, I feel that a dystopian view does indeed cause media anxiety. Do you think that the results of the experiments conducted influence people reading about them to have negative views on how the media is able to influence people’s behavior or thoughts, or will they question the limitations that the experiment has? I personally think that people will tend to question how the experiment was conducted, because there will always be flaws or limitations because humans are complex and there will not be a perfect experiment that covers all the grounds of human thoughts and behavior.

    I also agree that solely watching television does not constitute to becoming obese, or else everyone who watches television would be heavy-weighted, and that there has to be other factors at play to cause someone to become fat, such as snacking while watching television.

    All in all I think this was a well-organized post that covers all three points, and I enjoyed reading your views on this topic!

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