Researchers lead by the late George Gerbner concluded from their study of Cultivation Analysis that heavy viewers of TV—who are exposed to innumerable instances of violence—tend to think that it’s a very mean world out there. In fact, they call it the Mean World Syndrome and they measure it using the Mean World Index or theory. The theory says that most people are just looking out for themselves; that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people; and that most people would take advantage of you if they got the chance. Here is the theorist explaining his conclusions:
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Please select and address at least one of the following activities in a carefully crafted response.
Do you think what Gerbner says is true? Before you answer, please take a look at this study of Cultivation Analysis by the Media Education Foundation (WARNING: This clip has a great deal of violence—but that’s the point, isn’t it?). Provide authoritative researched studies to support your answer.
Do you agree with the conclusions of the Mean World Syndrome? Do you perceive the world as mean primarily because it looks that way on television, or is it really a mean world out there? How much television do you watch? If you are a “heavy” TV watcher, do you think that has an impact on your perceptions? Why or why not? How do you think the media affect our perceptions of the world?