The role of Media on Human behaviour

Media in all its forms has always been under scrutiny for its ability to indoctrinate society’s perceptions.  The excessive consumption and immense power in which the media showcases, has in turn led to people accusing the media and more specifically content such as violence as a major societal issue. The growing anxieties about broadcasting violence has led to the debate of media ultimately influencing human behaviour.

Albert Bandura’s Bobo doll experiment is just one study that has proven that individuals do, in fact, mirror behavior. The study demonstrates that children learn through observing adult behavior after witnessing the interaction with an inflatable doll. The imitation of behaviour revealed that children attacked the doll in an identical manner to adults.  This again generates another idea. Can the media be held accountable for inducing what some children may think is acceptable? When in actual fact it is not. Or does it come down to the media’s impact on the child and their own circumstances.

Despite the fundamental flaws evident in “The media effects model”, it does tackle some intriguing points. The Media cannot merely be held accountable for some peoples actions, as human behaviour involves a number of ‘biological, developmental and environmental factors, which have contributed to levels of aggression’, and thus leaving the media incapable of being the sole reason for influencing behaviour.

George Gerbner so too explores media as a liable cause for increased violence, ‘we are awash in a tide of violent representations unlike any the world has ever seen before…. Drenching every home with graphic scenes of expertly choreographed brutality.’ And while this may be true, I believe it’s more accurate to point out the fact that living in the 21st century has brought about media saturation, with society immersing itself into all things technological. And as a consequence, has left society in a contention to somewhat accept this constant discloser of violent content.

While their will always be a negative stigma associated with the media’s portrayal of violence, it is unfit to presume that media alone is what shapes public thought.

Gauntlett, D. 1998, ‘Ten Things Wrong with the ‘effects model,’ accessed 16th March 2014, http://www.theory.org.uk/effects.htm

McLeod, S .2011, Bobo Doll Experiment, accessed 16th March 2014, http://www.simplypsychology.org/bobo-doll.html

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