Media’s Influence on Behavior
By Carrie Rowland
Instructor: Steven Seiler
For my paper I will be researching the influence of mass media on behavior. I find this topic important because of the similarities that have already been shown between people’s behavior and what the media portrays, and also the different severity of it between age groups. This not only will show clarification to the problem but also give insight to how age affects how impressionable people are and their willingness to conform. I plan to research through collecting data through journal articles on not only mass media, but also conformity and pattern changes in behavior throughout society’s history and the connection between this and increased media display. I believe that with my findings I will be able to conclude that media and society’s norms have a great deal of influence on behavior, not only in children and adolescents, but also in adults and even senior citizens.
Throughout history humanity has developed rules and regulations in order to bring normalcy to society. These rules, also known as norms and traditions, have created a society that falls under impression easily and have forgotten about their own desires, just to appease what the rest of civilization thinks is appropriate and acceptable. In today’s day and age media and pop culture have become increasingly important in the lifestyles of people. It has started to affect every aspect of their lives including what clothes they wear, who they associate themselves with, the value of a dollar, and most importantly the choices they make in reference to actions and behavior. People have forgotten how to be themselves mainly because they have forgotten who they are and what in life truly makes them happy. Due to the increased popularity of media and the influence of it, society has become a collection of brainwashed people who conform, unconsciously, to the norms that society has created for them to follow. Without question, people have started basing their decisions and the choices they make on what they see the rest of society doing. The long withstanding value of self-identity that once had so much worth has now become completely forgotten because of the amplified importance of conformity to the rest of society. My purpose in researching this topic and stating my contribution is to not only lay some insight on the impact of the issue of conformity due to media’s influence on behavior but to also offer some sort of solution and possibly reiterate the value of one’s own identity and also the value of happiness, which can come when one makes their own choices based on their own desires and longings. Rowland 4
There are many things to consider when evaluating the impact and importance of media and pop culture’s influence on the behavior of individuals in society. WHAT IS MASS MEDIA?
In recent years something that once stood dependant on other social aspects has begun to gain greater self sufficiency and therefore create a larger example for its audience to follow. In this case the newly confident variable is the media and society its audience. This sudden change in the role of media leads one to ask the question, why does the media have such a great influence and what about this pop culture point is it that makes it an idol for Americans to swoon over? Throughout history mass media has been used as a sort of unity tool, something that was used to bring large masses of people together through the act of public affairs, may it be in print, through the television, or by a fictional storyline that allows one to see a crisis that turns out to be ok. Years ago mass media was used to unite a society through common grounds, something that Lasswell defined, “as an attempt to answer the question ‘Who says what, in which channel, to whom and with what effect?” (McQuail 94). But today it has formed into something...
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