Short and Long Term Media Effects
In his book, The 11 Myths of Media, James Potter shares what he believes to be the twelve short term effects and fourteen long term effects of media which are listed below.
SHORT TERM MEDIA EFFECTS
1-Imitation and Copying Behavior~Children and adults mimics and incorporate a behavior they have seen a character in media perform.
2-Triggering Novel Behavior~Media that stimulates a person to act in a manner that is not copied from a specific a media portrayal the have seen. Instead the viewer uses the stimulation they feel by watching the negative media to act aggressively in a novel way to fit the situation at hand.
3-Disinhibition~Exposure to media violence can reduce viewers’ normal inhibitions that prevent them from behaving in a violent manner. Violent media over time reduces viewers inhibitions with psychological conditioning and slowly reprograms their values.
4-Attraction-May people are attracted to violence, not all the time, but sometimes.
5-Fight or Flight~Exposure to violent media can temporarily arouse people physiologically whereby a person’s heart rate and blood pressure increase. The same physical changes that occur in a person’s body during a real life threat are the same ones that occur when there are watching violent or fearful images.
6-Excitation Transfer~Violent or sexual acts presented in media tend to arouse viewers and hence is an energizer. The arousal needs direction, because arousal by itself in not guided, it could lead to more violence or sexual acts.
7-Temporary Fear~Violent media can produce intense fright reactions. Fright is an immediate emotional response and is composed of anxiety, distress, and increased physiological arousal that are frequently engendered in viewers as a result of exposure to specific types of media productions.
8-Desensitization~Media can reduce our emotional reactions. It breaks down viewer’s natural resistance to killing.
9-Catharsis~Is the most controversial media effect. Catharsis is an emotional effect experienced by people who use media to purge negative emotions, such as fear or anger. Catharsis also has a physiological component, because it can only work if a person is in a relatively high state of arousal. Without high arousal, there is no energy or drive to dissipate.
10-Immediate Creation or Change of Attitudes~A person’s attitude can be created or changed with as little as a single exposure. Watching violent media can make people temporarily less aware of and less concerned about aggressive acts in others.
11-Learning Specific Acts and Lessons~Learning is defined as the acquisition of the facts so that they can be recalled later. Learning need not be planned—it can be incidental to the motive we have for media exposure. Incidental learning takes place when we do not intend to learn and when the sender of the messages in not intending for us to learn anything.
12-Learning Behaviors~People can learn behavior by watching characters perform in media. Not only do they learn the specific behavior, they learn there
is NO consequences to the behaviors.
LONG TERM MEDIA EFFECTS
1-Generalizing to Novel Behaviors~Media can influence behaviors—not just specific actions, but a general, long term manner. Viewers can generalize a particular behavior to a broader class of behaviors.
2-Long-Term Triggering~Exposure to affluent lifestyles in media and high levels of advertising of consumer goods teachers viewer over time that in order to
be happy you need to attain those things.
3-Malformed Superego~The superego is something that is acquired through experience as people learn what is acceptable in society. Viewers are exposed to many different value systems, as there are channels. Also, media gives viewers no discipline or feed back on their behavior which leaves them to develop their own superego value system.
4-Training Behavior~Media shapes our behavior by training us. Over time, viewers seek out the same types of actions the reinforce the conditions they have been exposed to.
5-Physiological Habituation~This is the building up or increasing of physiological tolerance over the long term. With repeated fight-flight responses, the human body gradually builds up a resistance to the exposure to media images.
6-Narcotizing~Habitual viewing of violent media over time dull our reactions. Viewers can become addicted and crave that strong “arousal jag” they get from violent exposures. Violence acts as a drug in the sense that people become more dependent over time.
7-Emotional Habituation~Some portrayals are presented so often we can no longer treat them with wonder and awe. Things that used to horrify or upset us no
longer do. Long term exposure to violence can lead to a lack of remorse. A high levels of watching media leaves no time for reflection. This pacing short-circuits the natural emotional development that people need to become healthy human beings; it strangles the development of children’s own voices and denies them their imaginative powers. Viewers spend more and more time with pseudo-emotional connections with fictional characters in media, they build up less experience with emotions in the real world.
8-Long Term Reinforcement of Attitudes and Beliefs~Media provides so many violent messages that are usually presented with the same cluster of contextual factions viewers’ existing attitudes about violence are reinforced over time.
9-Cultivation of Fear~Heavy exposure to negative and violent portrayals lead people to construct unrealistically high estimates of risk of victimization and a corresponding belief that the world is a mean and violent place.
10-Generalizing Patterns~A person who watches a local news program and hears three different stories about robberies has learned three facts from each message. Later that night he might generalize from these three stories and draw a conclusion that was not given to him by the media, but the media provided to him by some facts. Media provides consistent message that lead viewers to construct generalizations about how much crime and violence there is in society.
11-Learning Social Norms~People can generalize a pattern from individual media exposures without that pattern being a social norm. When viewers are repeated exposed to violence in media, a person overestimates the rate of crimes that are cleared by arrest. Although these are generalizations, they are not social
norms. Social norms are generalized patterns from social information, rather than factual information. Social norms deal more with the rules of behavior in social situations rather than with society’s factual parameters. Sheer repetition of violent portrayals is enough to lead people to generalize that violence is typical way of dealing with problems in society.
12-Programming Us How to Think~Media violence weakens our ability to react properly to violent images. It weakens appropriate cognitive, emotion and social development, causing more children to become increasingly vulnerable to other violence-enabling factors in our society such as poverty, discrimination, drugs and the availability of guns.
13-Moving the Mean of Society Toward More of a Fight-Flight Mentality~When violence permeates the media year after year in all kinds of programming and when the message of the violence is antisocial (violence is usually justified, successful, and harmless to victims), the mean of society is likely to move gradually to antisocial direction. The society will gradually move towards a fight-flight mentality. The fight component is exhibited by an erosion of inhibitions to behaving in a violent manner. The flight component is exhibited by a gradual increase in generalized fear along with an erosion of sympathy for victims of violence.
14-Changing Institutions~When violence permeates the media year after year in all kinds of programming and when the message of that violence is antisocial, institutions feel the influence and gradually change. There is a greater fear in society, which leads to makes institution to be more aggressive in removing deviants from society. Institutions seem to change as a result of conflicting forces.
"It's not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are."
- Roy Disney