Cultivation Theory

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Cultivation Theory

Question 1: Explain in detail what is Cultivation Theory? Describe the three prongs- Institutional process analysis, message system analysis and cultivation analysis.  

The cultivation theory suggests that the repeated exposure to televisions over a long time have the ability to cultivate the viewers’ perceptions of reality, as the TV is considered a medium of socialization of most people into standardized roles and behaviors. According to the theory, the television influences its viewers to change their perception to what they have seen in the TV, and thus the TV is considered to independently contribute to what is perceived by the people as the social reality and therefore will have an effect on the attitudes and values of its viewers.  

The three prongs include:

Institutional process analysis – Examines the production, management, and distribution of media messages.  

Message system analysis – Involves the investigation of images in the media content such as the portrayal of minorities, gender roles as well as how certain occupations are depicted.  

Cultivation analysis – A research designed to investigate and support the idea that the perceptions and behaviors of the people who spend more time with the media especially the television tend to internalize and reflect what they have seen on the TV.

Question 2: Discuss major findings of cultivation analysis

Significant findings, according to the Gerbner, include:

Cultivational differential which is the difference in the percentage providing the TV answer when comparable groups of light and heavy TV viewers. An example is that people think that there are more police in the population because there are many cops in the TV shows.

Meta-analysis – Blends the results of multiple empirical and independent research studies exploring the same relationship between two variables.

According to Gerbner, surveys were the best methods for cultivation analysis. According to the survey findings:

There was a positive correlation between TV viewing and fear of criminal victimization,

Perceived activity of the police, that is, Grabner’s TV type assumes that police draw their guns almost every day, which is not true and

The general mistrust of people that is most people are just looking out for themselves.     

Question 3: Why do you think the cultivation theory has received so much criticism? Which critic of the theory do you find most troubling and why?

I think that the reason why the cultivation theory has received so much criticism is that it is full of bias as it depends on surveys to draw its conclusion without scientific experiments and thus interpretive. The critic theory that I find most troubling is the relationship between TV viewing and the fear of crime. There is no evidence that the fear of crime results from TV viewing as it is like associating a running nose and a sore throat as they are not caused by the same thing.