You Can’t Tell Me What To Do: Public Perception of Media

Many studies have been conducted attempting to correlate media with negative (and to a smaller degree, positive) effects on things like personality, cognitive processes (e.g., learning), temperament, eating habits, socialization, etc. The effects themselves are not necessarily the measure of whether we cling to new media like varnish to wood or shake our proverbial sticks at them; public perception is. (Giles, 2010)

When instincts and assumptions take over research, not only do we have issues like confirmation bias and experimenter bias; we have an influx of studies that may hold us back from progression. Numerous research articles claim to have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that video games cause aggression. Of course, without studying confounding variables (e.g., previously existing aggression issues, abuse, socioeconomic upbringing, etc.), we cannot make these claims with any certainty. (Johnson, 2005)

One of the most drilled lessons in a Foundations of Psychology course that I took in undergrad, is that when you look for something, you are likely to find it: when you look to negate something; you learn something better.

References:

Giles, D. (2010). Psychology of the media. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Johnson, S. (2005). Everything bad is good for you: How today’s popular culture is actually making us smarter. New York: Riverhead Books.

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