Looking for answers where there are none – the Effects model

Looking for answers where there are none – the Effects model

You’re going to watch about 21 hours of television this week. I hope you also enjoy your expected 13 hours listening to the radio, 5 hours reading print media and the 13 odd hours looking at cats on YouTube (although I suspect it’s far more for the under 25’s. Especially if you’ve got assessment due)(Roy Morgan, 2010).

The “Effects Model” of media research seeks to understand the effects of this perpetual media milkshake we guzzle daily. Causality is a major player in the model; the term describes the process of arbitrarily connecting one event with another. For instance, my hair is brown because I like eating chocolate.


And all cows are green because of the grass

Causality in the media is often in reference to violence i.e. violent television makes violent people, this assumption being made without regard to individual factors such as learning difficulties etc.

The Effects Model presumes that whilst everyone else could be affected by violent or explicit media, you, as the individual, are immune. Furthermore, it states that certain sections of the community are at more risk of being influenced, children for example. Depicted as naive and easily swayed within the model, children do have the ability to think critically about their media choices (Buckingham 1993, 1996).

I’ve been punched by my friends. Not hard, just a bit of teasing. But would this be defined as violent behaviour under the Effects Model? Quite possibly. The model relies heavily on content analysis – the analysis of media to count the amount of “inappropriate” content in it. It’s quantitative not qualitative though, and makes little definition as to what exactly is inappropriate. What to me is a friendly scuffle could be construed by someone else as violent harassment. The subjectivity of content makes content analysis a fairly redundant practice. To properly analyse media an extensive list of variables must be accounted for.

Images courtesy of -http://www.neonbubble.com/article/the-price-of-meat, http://culturalawareness2012.wikispaces.com/EFFECTS