What is Cultivation Theory?

Cultivation theory is a psychological concept that focuses on how media, such as television and movies, can shape people’s attitudes and beliefs. The theory suggests that the more an individual is exposed to certain types of media, the more likely they are to adopt the attitudes, beliefs, and values that are portrayed in the media. The theory was developed by George Gerbner in the 1950s and has been widely studied since then. It is one of the most influential theories in media studies and has been used to explain a range of social phenomena, such as racism, sexism, and violence.

How Does Cultivation Theory Work?

Cultivation theory suggests that the more an individual is exposed to certain types of media, the more likely they are to adopt the attitudes, beliefs, and values that are portrayed in the media. This is known as the “cultivation effect”. The theory suggests that media can shape people’s perceptions of reality by creating a “mean world syndrome”, where people believe that the world is a dangerous place. This is because media tends to focus on negative events, such as crime and violence, rather than positive events.

The theory also suggests that media can create a “cultivated worldview”, where individuals adopt the values and beliefs that are portrayed in the media. For example, if an individual watches a lot of television shows that portray women in a certain way, they may start to believe that this is the “right” way for women to behave.

What Are the Implications of Cultivation Theory?

Cultivation theory has a number of implications for media studies, psychology, and society in general. On the one hand, it suggests that media can have a powerful influence over individuals and can shape their beliefs and attitudes. On the other hand, it also suggests that media can be used to create a more positive and tolerant society.

For example, if media producers are aware of the power of cultivation theory, they can use it to create media that promotes positive values, such as tolerance and acceptance. This could lead to a more tolerant and accepting society, where individuals are less likely to be prejudiced against others.

Conclusion

Cultivation theory is an influential psychological concept that suggests that media can shape people’s attitudes and beliefs. The theory suggests that the more an individual is exposed to certain types of media, the more likely they are to adopt the attitudes, beliefs, and values that are portrayed in the media. The theory has a number of implications for media studies, psychology, and society in general. It suggests that media can have a powerful influence over individuals and can shape their beliefs and attitudes, but also that media can be used to create a more positive and tolerant society.

FAQs

What is Cultivation Theory?

Cultivation Theory is a psychological theory which suggests that the more time people spend watching television, the more likely they are to believe that the world depicted in television programmes is an accurate representation of reality.

What is the purpose of Cultivation Theory?

The purpose of Cultivation Theory is to examine the influence of television on people’s beliefs and values. It seeks to understand how television affects people’s views of the world and how it shapes their attitudes and behaviour.

What are the main components of Cultivation Theory?

The main components of Cultivation Theory are: 1) heavy television viewing; 2) a shared media environment; 3) a belief that television accurately reflects reality; 4) a belief that television is a source of knowledge; and 5) a belief that television is a source of entertainment.

What are the implications of Cultivation Theory?

The implications of Cultivation Theory are that people who watch a lot of television may have a distorted view of reality. This could lead to them making decisions or engaging in behaviours that are not based on reality.

What is the difference between Cultivation Theory and Social Learning Theory?

The main difference between Cultivation Theory and Social Learning Theory is that Cultivation Theory focuses on how television affects people’s beliefs and values, while Social Learning Theory focuses on how people learn through observation and imitation.

References


1.Gitlin, T. (1978). Media sociology: The dominant paradigm. Theory and Society, 6(2), 205-253.

2.Shoemaker, P. J., & Reese, S. D. (1996). Mediating the message: Theories of influences on mass media content (2nd ed.). White Plains, NY: Longman.

3.McQuail, D. (2010). McQuail’s mass communication theory (6th ed.). London: Sage Publications.