Mean World Syndrome

if it bleeds it leads by timoh meyer

Deviancy amplification spiral

Mean world syndrome‘ is a term coined by professor of communications George Gerbner to describe a phenomenon whereby violence-related content of mass media makes viewers believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is. Mean world syndrome is one of the main conclusions of cultivation theory (which states that those who spend more time watching TV are more likely to perceive the real world in ways that reflect the most common messages of the TV world). Gerbner, a pioneer researcher on the effects of television on society, argued that people who watched a large amount of television tended to think of the world as an intimidating and unforgiving place.

The number of opinions, images, and attitudes that viewers tend to make when watching television will have a direct influence on what the viewer perceives the real world as. They will reflect and refer to the most common images or recurrent messages thought to impact on their own real life. Gerbner once said ‘You know, who tells the stories of a culture really governs human behavior,’ he said. ‘It used to be the parent, the school, the church, the community. Now it’s a handful of global conglomerates that have nothing to tell, but a great deal to sell.’ Individuals who watch television infrequently and adolescents who talk to their parents about reality are claimed to have a more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, and they may be able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to violence.

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