Episode 178: ‘Mean World Syndrome’ – Television’s Role in Shaping Our World View


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Today’s podcast deals with the phenomena known as ‘Mean World Syndrome’ – the belief that the world is more dangerous than it really is. The term was coined by the late cultural theorist Dr. George Gerbner as part of his work on cultivation theory, a social theory that examines the long-term effects of television. Specifically, Dr. Gerbner’s research found that heavy TV viewers are more likely to overestimate their risk of being victimized by crime, believe that their neighborhoods are unsafe, and assume that the crime rate is increasing, even when it isn’t.

For more, download Episode 178 of SLHS! Enjoy!

Smells Like Human Spirit is a DAILY podcast that covers society, culture, and everything in between! Previous guests include Professor Noam Chomsky, Dan Carlin, Michael Ruppert and many others…

FURTHER READING

Boyd-Barrett, O. and Braham, P. (eds.) (1987). Media, Knowledge & Power. London, UK: Croom Helm.

Cassino, D., Woolley, P. and Jenkins, K. (2012). PublicMind.fdu.edu, May 3 2012.

Condry, J. (1989). The Psychology of Television. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Dominick, J. R. (1990). The Dynamics of Mass Communication. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Evra, J.V. (1990). Television and Child Development. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Gerbner, G. and Gross L. (1976). Living with Television: The Violence Profile. Journal of Communication26 (2), 172-199.

Hall, S. (2003). Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London, UK: SAGE Publications.

Jacobs, T. (2013). Reality TV May Warp Viewers’ Perception of Actual Reality. Pacific Standard Magazine, September 13 2013.

Livingstone, Sonia (1990). Making Sense of Television. London, UK: Pergamon.

Kelly, M. (2012). Does Watching Fox News Make You Less Informed? Slate.com, January 30 2014.

McQuail, D. and Windahl, S. (1993). Communication Models for the Study of Mass Communication. London, UK: Longman.

Mander, J. (1976). Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. William Morrow.

Miller, K. (2005). Communications theories: perspectives, processes, and contexts. New York: McGraw-Hill.

O’Sullivan, T., Dutton, B., Rayner, P. (2003). Studying the Media. New York: Oxford University Press.

Riddle, K. and De Simone, J.J. (2013). A Snooki Effect? An exploration of the Surveillance Subgenre of Reality TV and Viewers’ Beliefs About the “Real” Real World. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2(4), 237-250.

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