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Annotated Bibliography

Page history last edited by PBworks 16 years, 2 months ago


Cultivation Theory Annotated Bibliography


Bailey, T. A. (2006). Cultural studies and cultivation theory: Points of convergence International Communication Association. Retrieved on April 1, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


The research presented in Cultural Studies and Cultivation Theory offers the idea that society has a “dominant” group that is responsible for creating the norms and ideals by which the “general public” adopt and mold themselves around. Bailey puts forward the hypothesis that while the public is fully aware of this “education”, they need constant reminders of these rules. She goes on to explore how the public is aware that the media creates extreme negative visualizations of racial stereotyping, gender roles, and cultural differences on television but they choose to ignore it and instead crave repetition. The repetition in this case causes viewers to maintain a constant feeling of unease and uncertainty within their environment. The more indecision the public exhibits, the more they feel they need to consume media in order to be “educated.”


Carlson, J. M. (1993). Television viewing: Cultivating perceptions of affluence and support for capitalist values. Political Communication, 10(3), 243-257. Retrieved on March 28, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


Carlson discusses how televised news broadcasts and entertainment programming affects the behavior of those who watch television. It offers a brief history on the origins of the cultivation theory and discusses how George Gerbner and his colleagues discovered how televised media misrepresents the actual world. Carlson branches off of the theory and inspects the way advertising programs on television encourages viewers to buy certain products and goods in order to be successful or feel fulfilled in life. His findings show the psychological effects advertising has on people and how they end up not utilizing the products they feel they need.


Gerbner, G. (1998). Cultivation analysis: An overview. Mass Communication & Society, 1(3), 175. Retrieved on March 28, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


Acting as the foundation to the Cultivation Theory, this article is responsible for setting the theory in motion and earning it acclaim. In it, George Gerbner describes how humans are the only species that live in a world erected by the stories they tell. One of Gerbner’s reasons for publishing this article was to help bring a better understanding for future historians’ questions regarding the common cultural environment during the 1960’s and 1970’s. He believed that viewing databases, cultural indicators and reports from each decade could accomplish this. Gerbner’s findings show how most children’s dreams are filled with stories from conglomerates selling ideas and beliefs to them. One of the important topics of discussion in this article describes how humans have replaced the symbiotic relationship of state and church with the relationship between state and television.


Hammermeister, J., Brock, B., Winterstein, D., & Page, R. (2005). Life without TV? Cultivation theory and psychosocial health characteristics of television-free individuals and their television-viewing counterparts. Health Communication, 17(3), 253-264. Retrieved on April 1, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


In this study the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) introduced non-television viewers to two hours of television per day. They compared the new viewers to frequent viewers and analyzed whether or not moderate television watching affected the psychosocial health of people in a positive way. They found that television does help individuals learn to adapt and understand social situations better and also introduce them to modern day dilemmas. However, in the end they found that there are more negative effects associated with watching television. Their findings reported that people who watch an excess of TV mimic violence, sexual behaviors, and think lower of their physical appearance. Hammermeister, Brock, Winterstein, and Page utilized the cultivation theory throughout this study and concluded that people should watch no more than two hours of television a day in order to maintain a healthy psychosocial lifestyle.


Harmon, M. D. (2001). Affluenza: Television use and cultivation of materialism. Mass Communication & Society, 4(4), 405-418. Retrieved on March 30, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


Harmon’s article focuses on how the cultivation theory coincides with television viewing and materialism. Using the Simmons Market Research Bureau data from 1996, and questions from the General Social Survey from 1972 to 1996, studies showed a direct correlation between television viewing and materialism. However, while the research shows that this link exists and serves the cultivation theory, it also shows that the cultivation theory is perhaps too broad and cannot fully explain all of the effects between television viewing and audiences. Harmon suggests that other factors such as culture, message, and the viewer’s age influence the relationship between television and viewers.


Hughes, M. (1980). The fruits of cultivation analysis: A reexamination of some effects of television watching. Public Opinion Quarterly, 44(3), 287. Retrieved on March 29, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


In addition to offering background information on the origins of the cultivation theory, Hughes’ article presents a reanalysis of the theory created by Gerbner. The purpose of his article is to offer further clarification on the ideas Gerbner and his colleagues presented while founding the theory but could not fully support. While doing this, Hughes evaluates and presents a clearer understanding of the theory. The Fruits of Cultivation Analysis also discusses the “television answer” theory and explains how people are misled into thinking about the exaggerated violence they see on TV to be similar to reality violence. It argues that people mix up “television reality” with “real world reality.” After comparing his findings to Gerbner’s original theory, Hughes is the first to suggests that the theory might be too simplified.


Kahlor, L., & Morrison, D. (2007). Television viewing and rape myth acceptance among college women. Sex Roles, 56(11), 729-739. Retrieved on March 29, 2008 from Academic Search Premier


LeeAnn Kahlor and Dan Morrison show a resistance to the cultivation hypothesis through research which is based on the link between women viewing television and their acceptance of rape myths. The data shows that television viewing did not correlate with the overestimation of rape in society. Kahlor and Morrison acknowledge that prior research has shown that people consuming pornographic films and magazines are likely to accept rape myths. However, the data bears out that college women that watch television are more likely to believe that rape accusations are false. According to the article these results suggest the need for additional research focused on how general television viewing may play in rape-related misunderstandings. In addition this article also outlines Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory and uses an example concerning heavy consumers of television indicating that those that watch television believe that they are 10 times more likely of becoming a victim of violent crime than that of casual television viewers.


Lapierre, M. (2007). The marketplace in the classroom: outcomes of school commercialism. Conference Papers -- International Communication Association, , 1-1. Retrieved on March 30, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


Lapierre’s paper deals with crime victimization and the way the media sculpts the public’s brains around crime risk. The cultivation theory is prevalent in this paper as it deals with mainstreaming, resonance and impersonal impact. The main topic of discussion is a study which follows the competing hypothesis derived from the theoretical formations of general cultivation, mainstreaming, resonance, and impersonal impact as they pertain to judgments of crime risk. It also tests the impersonal impact hypothesis as the results show general cultivation may not always be observed. Instead, television viewing may have an effect on judgments when it relates to direct experiences. Multiple tests were completed and they all bared the same general conclusion. The finding of an interaction between television viewing and direct experience is important to understanding the processes that underlie the cultivation effects.


Lett, M. D., DiPietro, A. L., & Johnson, D. I. (2004). Examining effects of television news violence on college students through cultivation theory. Communication Research Reports, 21(1), 39-46. Retrieved on March 28, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


Studies show that the more hours people were exposed to terrorist attacks, the more negatively they felt towards their Islamic peers. The results were very consistant with other researchers who agreed that cultivation effects were based on the constant viewing of specific content. However, second-order effects were found. Researchers also stated that some people who witnessed the September 11th event on television were channeling their negative emotions toward the generic protrayal of terrorist that were characterized by new reports. People would take the thought of terrorists as being extremists and seperate them from the mainstream Islam. Also, similar conclusions were drawn up by two other researchers,Chory-Assad and Tamborini who found perceptions were varied by genre.


Mabe, B., & Dong, H. (2006). "Who turned off the world?" the television-dependent worldview in Darryl Worley's "have you forgotten". Conference Papers -- International Communication Association, , 1-20. Retrieved on March 30, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


Once Operation Iraqi freedom commenced, the world was very divided on whether or not support for the war was right. Some felt that the images of the terrorist attacks on September 11th were being used excessively in order to remind people about patriotism and help build support for the president. This article analyzes the pro-war song “Have You Forgotten” and relates it’s underlying messages to the horrific images shown on televisions of the terrorist attacks. Mabe and Dong suggest that fear and uncertainty were used as tactics in order to gain support for the war. When analyzing the public mentality in the early stages of the war, Mabe and Dong found that most citizens felt America was at war with anyone who harbored terrorists. They go on to describe that in respect to the media bombardment of references between Iraq and Al Qaeda, the cultivation theory was widespread among American mentality as a means to justify an allied strike.


Reber, B. H., & Chang, Y. (2000). Assessing cultivation theory and public health model for crime reporting. Newspaper Research Journal, 21(4), 99. Retrieved on April 1, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


Reber and Chang’s study focused on newspapers and television and assessed the effects of how violence covered by these media outlets affects an individual psychologically. Their study on cable television news lasted three years and was created to see if violence in media coverage was consistent and prevalent. They found it existed in up to 80% of network programming. Through their research they concluded that the cultivation theory led to people being suspicious of other individuals due to the amount violence in the media. They also conducted a survey in the college town asking people about the cultivation theory and what they wanted to see in the media. The results showed that a lot of people are fearful and believe that the media does not cover all of the crime and that there is much to be cautious of. Their conclusions supported the ideas presented in the cultivation theory and that the majority of people correlate the media with fear.


Romer, D., Jamieson, K. H., & Aday, S. (2003). Television news and the cultivation of fear of crime. Journal of Communication, 53(1), 88-104. Retrieved on April 1, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


This study focused on local television news and its effects on the fear of crime. Using the General Social Survey, this study was conducted over a 5-year span in several and around Philadelphia. It found that during this time, while crime rates were dropping, the coverage of violent crimes on television news was sharply increasing. Between 1992 and 1993, the coverage of violent crimes such as drive by shootings and violence in school increased by 100%. Those who considered their local television news to be their main source of information experienced an increase of fear of crime. The study showed that during this time the public thought that the biggest issue in the city was crime and this was especially true of suburban neighborhoods whose crime rates were low. Conversely those living in inner cities were less affected. Romer, Jamieson, and Aday contribute this effect to cultivation, saying that the more people witness violence on television the more likely they are to believe that they will be a victim of these crimes even if the around them has very low crime rates.


Shrum, L. J., Burroughs, J. E., & Rindfleisch, A. (2003). Does television promote materialism? Cultivating the desire for the good life. International Communication Association. Retrieved on April 1, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


In order to test the relationship between materialism and television consumption, Shrum, Burroughs, and Rindfleisch, conducted a mail survey throughout America. The purpose of their survey was to ask a series of questions indirectly relating a persons level of media consumption and consumerism. Prior to mailing out 1,500 surveys to individuals, the researchers sampled 70 college students to determine their “level of television viewing” as well as their “acquisition of material objects.” This acted as the control for their survey and helped them compare their findings to a sample group. The research team was able to determine that high-NFC, or Need For Cognition, viewers demonstrated a greater relationship to television viewing and materialism. In addition to understanding that media consumption is directly related to a person’s need or want for goods, they also found that if a person consumes a lot of products they are most likely dissatisfied with their life. Their study suggests that once a person enters the circle of media and product consumption that it is very hard to ignore the “noise” surrounding them to keep feeding the cycle.



Van den Bulck, J. (2003). Is the Mainstreaming effect of cultivation an artifact of regression to the mean? Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 47(2), 289-295. Retrieved on March 28, 2008 from Academic Search Premier


This article focuses on Paul Hirsch, who was one of the first to argue against the cultivation theory. It compares mainstreaming, which is said to be a major effect of cultivation, to regression to the mean, which is a statistical artifact and occurs when one group is selected out of a large sample on the basis of extreme scores of one variable, and is then compared with the group’s score on a second variable. Generally, regression to the mean occurs when a group is questioned twice, once pre-test, once post-test. After the first test the groups scoring extremely well or really bad are singled out. The second time around on the test, the group who did really bad the first time, on average, always seem to perform better the second time while the group that did well seem to do worse. Mainstreaming is the sharing of the commonality among heavy television viewers in demographic groups whose light television viewers hold divergent views. The research finds that while the Gerbner school maintains that viewers are not selective, others have said that two viewers watching the same television program may not be exposed to it the same way from a quantitative point of view. If most viewers do not watch similar types of contents or if they interpret them differently, it becomes difficult to uphold mainstreaming. Even if viewers watch the programs, it is not always easy to find what the mainstreaming message is. While content analysis of television deals with straight numbers, the cultural indication analysis is harder to define since other variables may cause people to answer in such a way that television seems as the culprit, while it’s possible that it is not.


Williams, D. (2006). Virtual cultivation: Online worlds, offline perceptions. Journal of Communication, 56(1), 69-87. Retrieved on April 1, 2008 from Communication and Mass Media Complete


Williams studied the effects that an online game had on participants in relation to their perceptions of danger and violence. The purpose of the study was to focus on one game rather than a wide variety and see whether or not the cultivation theory holds true in a virtual world. He chose to study one game because using several games wouldn’t have allowed participants to be engaged fully. His rationale for using one game concluded in finding that the more time a player spends on a game the more authentic the virtual world appears to them. This in turn affects their subconscious and causes them to believe that what happens in a game can happen in real life.



Information and Data Organized by D2J3 Spring 2008

Jonathan Jeong • Daniel Tompos • Johnathan Saller • Jeremy Williams • Dina Yacoub

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