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Discussion Assignment

From the first nationwide radio broadcast and the first television broadcast stations in the 1920s to the introduction of the World Wide Web (yes, the WWW) in the early 1990s, the influence of the media on individual and group behaviors seems to parallel our use of mass media. John B. Watson (1878–1958), one of the major contributors to behavioral psychology, was an innovator in the advertising industry. The challenge with studying mass media is that as consumers we may already have some strong biases on the types of media and its use. For example, some may prefer one new network over another due to their own political ideologies. One way to examine mass media from a psychology perspective is to step back as a consumer and view from a scientist's perspective making observations from all aspects.

  • Begin this discussion by providing some specific examples of the scope of influence mass media has on an individual. Provide a rationale, if any, regarding the influence of mass media on the individual, and explain how researchers may limit their own bias as mass media consumers.
  • Compare and contrast the ways in which mass media is studied, such as from the behavioral, cognitive, and attitudinal perspectives.
  • Explain the main theories of mass media such as social cognitive theory, cultivation theory, socialization theory, uses and gratification theory, agenda-setting theory, script theory, and limited capacity model. Choose two of these theories and compare and contrast each providing specific examples in mass media that would support your views.
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