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Discuss Media Influences On Prosocial Behaviour.

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Introduction

´╗┐DISCUSS MEDIA INFLUENCES ON PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOUR (24 MARKS) Pro-social behaviours are actions which aim to help others. For example, helping, sharing and caring for others. It seems as though the media can have a positive effect on individuals. It can have an influence on pro-social behaviour, and there are different explanations which help us to understand how the media does it. Being exposed to pro-social behaviour is one way in which the media can have a positive effect on people. Essentially, this explanation argues that when people are exposed to pro-social behaviour on TV and other sources of the media, they then become influenced by it. For example, if a character in a TV programme does something helpful, this explanation would argue that the person, who is exposed to this pro-social behaviour, would be affected by what they are seeing and this would then mean that they will copy that pro-social behaviour and also become helpful in real life. Greenberg carried out an analysis of popular children?s programmes in the US and found that there were an equivalent number of pro-social and antisocial acts. This shows us that the media does provide us with pro-social acts and it also shows us that we are exposed to these pro-social behaviours even though at times we may not be aware of it. ...read more.

Middle

For example, if a person watches a programme which contains a lot of pro-social acts, this may encourage or remind them that it is how are expected to act in society, so they may then copy that pro-social behaviour that they see on TV. One weakness of this explanation is the fact that it is rather deterministic. It is deterministic in the sense that it assumes that just because pro-social acts may represent our own social norms, people have no choice but to copy the pro-social acts that they may witness on TV. This is not always true as there are some people who like go against what is seen as socially normal because they want to be different from everybody else. For example, if they see a TV programme which contains a lot of pro-socials messages, they may choose to display antisocial behaviours in order to be different from everyone in their society, so this suggests that the media would not have any positive effect on them and the media wouldn?t be able to encourage them to show pro-social behaviours. Another weakness of this explanation is the fact that what is seen as being socially normal can differ across cultures. ...read more.

Conclusion

So, it suggests that the media can influence pro-social behaviours as it can cause people to be more altruistic towards others. However, having said that, just because those children were more likely to help puppies in distress, it does not mean the media was the main cause of the children showing pro-social behaviour- it may have just been the children?s personality that was causing them to act in a pro-social way. In another research, Mares found that when exposed to a TV model demonstrating self-control, children subsequently showed higher levels of self-control in their own behaviour. This therefore suggests that the media can influence pro-social behaviours because people can copy what they see on TV and then apply what they have seen in real life situations. However, because just because the children, in this research, copied what they were seeing on TV, it doesn?t necessary mean that everyone in the world would also be influenced by the media- some people may be influenced by the media and some people may not. So it is important to note that generalisations should not be made because not everyone would respond in the same way after seeing a TV programme with pro-social messages. ...read more.

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