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Cultivation Theory

Cultivation theory was invented by George Gerbner in the 1960s and is one of the most frequently cited theories in mass communication research. This theory concerns television’s contribution to viewers’ perceptions of social reality. The central claim of this theory is that people who spend more time watching television perceive the real world in ways that are similar to the world depicted on television (in contrast to people who watch less television). Cultivation theory focuses on the consequences of long-term exposure to the entire system of media messages and thus stands in contrast to the short-term focus of most experimental media research from the 1960s.

Cultivation theory is based on the study of the relationships between institutional processes, message systems, and cultivation analysis (i.e., the effects ...

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