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Chapter 29 cultivation theory George Gerbner

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cultivation theory

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Cultivation theory

heavy television users develop an exaggerated belief in a mean and scary world
- TVs power comes from content symbolic of real-life drama shown hour after hour
-violence is principle message


An Index of violence

Objective measure to allow people to discuss TV trends on basis of fact


Cultural indicators project

systematic tracking of changes in television content and how those changes affect viewers perceptions of the world


Dramatic Violence

Overt expression or threat of physical force as part of plot
-rules out verbal abuse, idle threats, pie-in-the face slapstick
- includes physical abuse in cartoon formats


Equal Violence unequal Risk

over half of prime-time programs contains violence or threats
- symbolic vulnerability of minority-group members
-Symbolic double jeopardy
- existence is understated
- vulnerability to violence is overplayed


Establishing a viewer profile

nature of cultivation hypothesis makes laboratory testing impossible
-effects of heavy TV viewing seen only after years of buildup


Cultivation differential

compares the attitudes of light and heavy viewers
survey targeted four attitudes
-chances of involvement with violence
-fear of walking alone at night
- perceived activity of police
- general mistrust of people(mean world syndrome)


Minds plowed by television grow fearful thoughts

cultural indicators evidence suggests that the minds of heavy TV viewers become fertile grounds for sowing



process by which heavy TV viewers develop a common socially conservative outlook through constant exposure to the same images and labels
- Bends "TV types" toward political right while seeing themselves as moderate and middle class



Heavy viewers grow more apprehensive through resonance
*resonance- process by which television violence causes viewers to replay real-life experiences
-amplifies the cultivation effect


Does Dramatic violence still cultivate fear

Media landscape has changed radically since Gerbner began his analysis
-The more things change the more they stay the same
-violence in programs supplemented/replaced by violent video games and graphic newscasts

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