Cultivation Theory
Quick revise

Cultivation Theory

Cultivation theory suggests that repeated exposure to television over time can subtly ‘cultivates’ viewers’ perceptions of reality. George Gerbner and Larry Gross theorised that TV is a medium of the socialisation of most people into standardised roles and behaviours.

Cultivation Theory suggests Television influences its audience to the extent that their world view and perceptions start reflecting what they repeatedly see meaning TV is considered to contribute independently to the way people perceive social reality and will have an effect on the audience’s attitudes and values. Long term exposure to violent media makes the audience less likely to be shocked by violence. Being less shocked by violence the audience may then be more likely to behave violently.

The criticism of this theory is that screen violence is not the same as real violence. Many people have been exposed to screen murder and violence, but there is no evidence at all that this has lead audiences to be less shocked by real killings and violence.

Mean World Syndrome

Mean World Syndrome is an assumption of cultivation theory, George Gerbner came up with the term to describe a phenomenon whereby violence related content in television and film makes viewers believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is. People who watch a lot of violent television are more likely to believe that there are more murders etc. then there are in the real world.

The video below describes cultivation theory and mean world syndrome.


Average: 4 (1 vote)