Mass Communication, Propaganda, And Persuasionthe Controlling Of America
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Mass Communication, Propaganda, and Persuasion
The Controlling of America
Brian S Isaacs
Social Psychology 271
April 24, 2000
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When we consider the advantage of technological advances that we currently have in our society. Cell phones, computers with Internet capability, thousands of channels of television, and other day to day used appliances to make life easier, we seem to have forgotten that these additions to our lives have sometimes made life more complex instead of easier. When we consider the implications of the amount of information that is being fed to us through these devices, we often forget to consider how much that the media controls our society. The media relies on using different factors including propaganda and persuasion techniques to get their message across to the masses.
I believe that if we could be more aware of the different kinds of techniques that the media employs to catch our attention. Sometimes we forget to realize that the media is only as powerful as we let it be in our society. If we can understand the principals behind our need for mass communication, we will be more aware of the ways that the media can influence our reactions towards others in this technologically advanced society.
In Aronson’s chapter on mass communication (1999) he noticed how some of the techniques that the book has illustrated become more aware to him when I watch day to day activities that people engage in. He is aware that some people have forgotten how to react towards each other, and I can see how the media can influence us on how to react to
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each other. If we can modify the way that we view each other not through the media’s relation to its views, but by different criteria other than ethnic and economic background or visual image, then we can better relate to each other in a more relevant and peaceful manner. (Festinger & Maccoby, 1964)
By changing the way others react towards a certain person or persons that don't fit desired views through persuasion techniques such as false information or intimidation(Pryor & Steinnfatt, 1978). I can best explain the previous idea with an example. I was watching a certain television program called, "Survivor," which I believe is a showcase for the different examples of how we treat each other in our society. The show creates a simple society by stranding two small groups on a deserted area of the Australian outback. These two groups are given simple supplies, and they are supposed to rely on each other for survival. The catch is that each member of the two groups can vote other teammates out of the group because the object of this show is to leave only one person left in order to reward them with a million dollars. On this particular episode of survivor, one person felt that one of their teammates could not last through the entire day of the two groups participating in an obstacle course. So, that one person tried to persuade the other teammates that this person should leave the group and go home. At the end of that day, as it was time to vote for a person to be excommunicated from the group. As they were reading off each vote, it turned out that the person who felt the other teammate was unable to go on, ended up being the one that was excommunicated from the group. This example shows that even if a person were to use persuasion techniques to get a desired effect, it sometimes can have the opposite effect on that person.
In conclusion, the social animal that people are, influenced by what they see and read. This has become more apparent with the advances in technology and the bombardment of media in our daily lives.
Aronson, E. (1999) The Social Animal. New York: W.H.Freeman.
Festinger, L.,& Maccoby,J. (1964) On resistance to persuasive communications. Journal of Abnormal and social Psychology, 68,359-366.
Pryor, B., & Steinfatt, W. (1978) the effects of initual belief level on inoculation theory and its proposed mechanisms. Human Communications research, 4, 217-230.
Word Count: 643
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