Research in Media Effects (Revised October 2009) Mass Media Research: An Introduction, 9 th Edition

Antisocial and Prosocial Effects of Media Content

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Antisocial and Prosocial Effects of Media Content

The antisocial effect of viewing television and motion pictures is one of the most heavily researched areas in all mass media studies. Comstock, Chaffee, and Katzman (1978) reported that empirical studies focusing on this topic outnumbered work in all other problem areas by four to one, and this emphasis is still apparent more than a decade later. Paik and Comstock (1994) reviewed the results of 217 such studies conducted between 1959 and 1990.

The impact of prosocial content is a newer area and grew out of the recognition that the same principles underlying the learning of antisocial activities ought to apply to more positive behavior. Applied and academic researchers share an interest in this area: All the major networks have sponsored such research, and the effects of antisocial and prosocial content have been popular topics on college and university campuses for the past 30 years. It is not surprising that there has been a certain amount of friction between academic researchers and industry executives.

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