Media Effects

When is it for good for characters to be bad?

When is it for good for characters to be bad?

To study film viewers’ engagement with narratives featuring morally good and bad characters, and ones in between, associate professor and MEL director Meghan Sanders asked individuals about their perceptions of different Harry Potter characters, going beyond past research that suggests people like happy, and just endings. The study examined how much exposure to the narrative, identification, and moral judgment about characters influence whether individuals may morally disengage during mediated entertainment experiences.

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Manship at ICA 2016

Manship at ICA 2016

Manship School faculty, graduate students and alumni are gearing up to leave their mark on the 66th Annual International Communication Association (ICA) Conference, June 9-13 in Fukuoka, Japan. Keeping with conference theme, “Communicating with Power,” Manship scholars will present on a variety of issues concerning digital advertising, health communication, and public relations and political communication.

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MEL Notes – Insert Stereotypical Blog Name Here

MEL Notes – Insert Stereotypical Blog Name Here

There is no questioning that television is a dominant source for information that assists us in understanding others and ourselves. What we watch on television helps us define social standards and behavioral norms. It tells us who should be esteemed and who should be ridiculed. For better or for worse, television is a powerful information source that has the ability to shape the way we think and act.

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MEL Notes: Social Roles and Stereotyping

MEL Notes: Social Roles and Stereotyping

The week of February 15 we spent the class period discussing social groups, stereotyping and the role media play in creating, distributing and perpetuating individuals’ perceptions of others. In many instances, media become the only venue through which we may come to interact with and learn about individuals who are dissimilar from ourselves. So, understanding how the media actually depict certain groups of people (especially marginalized groups), becomes important as these representations can have effects on media consumers and how we navigate the world.

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MEL Notes: Effects of Racial and Ethnic Minority Portrayals on Television

MEL Notes: Effects of Racial and Ethnic Minority Portrayals on Television

This post is written in response to: Ramasubramanian, S. (2010). Television viewing, racial attitudes, and policy preferences: Exploring the role of social identity and intergroup emotions in influencing support for affirmative action. Communication Monographs, 77(1), 102-120. doi: 10.1080/03637750903514300.    Folasade Adesanya is a first year masters student in the Manship School of Mass Communication. Her research interests explore how exposure to news media influences individuals’ perceptions of race and police violence. Racial minorities are generally given stereotypical roles in the media. We all know of Tyler Perry’s Madea, the tough, loud, short tempered and stereotypically “ghetto” African American character we love to watch. Or Sophia Vergara’s character on Modern Family – Gloria – who is the feisty, overly sexualized trophy wife from Colombia. These portrayals are often seen as no big deal, because it is “just entertainment” – not to be taken seriously. Dr. Srividya Ramasubramanian disagrees. She suggests that the media affect our opinions, attitudes, prejudices, and actions. The media can influence any and all of our cognitive processes – even something as seemingly unrelated as support for policy decisions (S. Ramasubramanian, personal communication, February 16, 2016). Ramasubramanian conducted a study to prove this point. The study focused on how portrayals of African Americans and Latino Americans on television affect Whites’ attitudes toward them in real life. The high frequency of stereotypical portrayals of minorities on television presumably reinforces stereotypical beliefs in Whites and fosters prejudice. She hypothesized that the prejudicial feelings would ultimately lead to lack of support for pro-minority government policies like affirmative action (Ramasubramanian, 2010). Approximately 274 White college students participated in a survey measuring perceived portrayals of racial/ethnic groups on television, stereotypical beliefs, prejudicial feelings, and policy support. Ramasubramanian found that her hypothesis was supported. As perceived stereotypical portrayals of African Americans and Latino Americans on television increased, negative real life stereotypical feelings increased, hostility toward African Americans and Latino Americans increased, and support for affirmative action policies decreased. These findings suggest that television plays a prominent role in influencing viewers’ racial attitudes and policy preferences (Ramasubramanian, 2010). What is even more significant about these findings is that they prove that the media affects many of our decisions and attitudes, even if we do not realize it. As for the best way to combat this issue – there is no clear answer. Ramasubramanian suggests having more diverse portrayals of all racial minorities on television as a logical start....

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