Cultivation Theory

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  • The view that television is part of a complex social system that cultivates people's perceptions of the world. Before the development of cultivation theory, media research was largely devoted to determining any immediate impact that a single message can have on individuals' attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors. Cultivation theory, however, suggests that the effects are cumulative as the result of significant exposure to television.

    Research on cultivation theory was first funded by the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence in 1968. Rather than look for measurable changes, George Gerbner and others posited that television, as the main entertainment medium, socializes people into society. Therefore, while no one television show can have an impact on an individual's behavior, watching a lot of television can cultivate ...

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