News Media Harmful? Implications of the Short-term Desensitisation to News Media on Empathy and Prosocial Behaviour

Guna Raja, Priyadarsani (2013). News Media Harmful? Implications of the Short-term Desensitisation to News Media on Empathy and Prosocial Behaviour Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Guna Raja, Priyadarsani
Thesis Title News Media Harmful? Implications of the Short-term Desensitisation to News Media on Empathy and Prosocial Behaviour
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-10-09
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Eric Vanman
Total pages 73
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Today, digital platforms play a large role in media consumption and consequently, people are more exposed to media violence. This raises concerns with respect to the psychological health of society. Previous research has shown that desensitisation (due to repeated exposure) to media violence leads to decreased empathy and decreased prosocial behaviour. However, limited research exists on the desensitisation effects of news violence and its impact on empathy and prosocial behaviour. Additionally, scarce research exists on the short-term desensitisation effects of both pleasant and violent media. Also, there is a paucity of research on the desensitisation effects of different news media modalities (e.g., audiovisual vs. text) and the impact of these modalities on empathy and prosocial behaviour. As an extension of the Fanti et al. (2009) study, this experiment investigated the short-term desensitisation effects of news content (pleasant vs. violent news items) and news condition (clips vs. texts) on empathy and prosocial behaviour. Participants were randomly allocated into the news texts or news clips condition and all participants were exposed to pleasant and violent news items in a randomised order. Interest, empathy and prosocial behaviour ratings from questionnaires were recorded. Short-term desensitisation to both pleasant and violent news was found as a significant decrease in interest ratings and a trend in the decrease of empathy ratings overtime was revealed. However, no significant differences were found between the effects of news modalities on prosocial behaviour. The strengths, limitations, theoretical implications, practical implications and future directions of this study were also discussed.
Keyword desensitisation
news media
empathy
Prosocial Behavior

 
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Created: Mon, 07 Jul 2014, 13:55:40 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology