Hypodermic Needle Theory

  • Agathokakological..

    Agathokakological.. (100)

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    The theory claims, that different media passes into the audience consciousness as a mass or single entity, without regard for individual opinions, experiences or intelligence. In this theory, the creators of mass media strictly manipulate the audience as a single unit and the media-makers find it easy to direct viewer.

    Basically, do you think certain types of media i.e. games, books, TV shows can cause violent behavior? If adverts can persuade you to go by a certain type of cosmetic product, can it also make you commit crimes.

    What are your thoughts are opinions on this?

    Example:
    Some people think the murder of James Bulger was caused by video games**
    January 26th, 2012 at 07:05pm
  • svefn-gengar

    svefn-gengar (240)

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    Agathokakological..:
    What are your thoughts are opinions on this?

    Example:
    Some people think the murder of James Bulger was caused by the game Saw.
    Well they'd be wrong, because the murder of James Bulger happened ten years before Saw was even thought of.

    Could you elaborate more on what the theory entails?
    January 26th, 2012 at 07:42pm
  • Agathokakological..

    Agathokakological.. (100)

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    Sorry, post edited.

    The theory claims, that different media passes into the audience consciousness as a mass or single entity, without regard for individual opinions, experiences or intelligence. In this theory, the creators of mass media strictly manipulate the audience as a single unit and the media-makers find it easy to direct viewer.

    Basically, do you think certain types of media i.e. games, books, TV shows can cause violent behavior? If Adverts can persuade you to go by a certain type of cosmetic product, can it also make you commit crimes.

    I realise this is very hard to prove without psychological tests, and even then they aren't always conclusive, but what you do personally think?
    January 26th, 2012 at 07:57pm
  • svefn-gengar

    svefn-gengar (240)

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    Agathokakological..:
    Example:
    Some people think the murder of James Bulger was caused by video games**
    Still, I don't think there were many video games around in 1993. XD But I get your point.

    There are correlations between violent behaviour and experience of video games/TV shows etc. But I think it depends largely on the personality of the person involved. I know countless people who enjoy films/TV shows/games that happen to have violent content (me included), and I can't think of any who have engaged in very violent behaviour.
    January 26th, 2012 at 08:15pm
  • Agathokakological..

    Agathokakological.. (100)

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    There were a lot of video games in 1993. :P

    I understand your point. Everyone is different and it depends on their circumstances/choices to depict what they do in life.
    January 26th, 2012 at 08:47pm
  • Skittlemeister.

    Skittlemeister. (150)

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    To a point, yes and no. Like you said everyone is different. Media can influence those who are easily influenced, but there are those who can't be influenced as easily. There are people who can act like total jerks while gaming, but are actually really nice people and wouldn't harm a fly.
    January 27th, 2012 at 05:36am
  • Mini Mindfreak Casey

    Mini Mindfreak Casey (100)

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    I would certainly hope the media can't manipulate one's mind into acting violently.
    March 30th, 2012 at 08:44am
  • The Master

    The Master (15)

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    Weeeeeeeell, media can act as an influence on people...but not to the extent to which the theory implies. Hell, nowhere near that. To blame behaviour X purely on some form of media is really inaccurate.

    There are some studies that suggest that video games do have an effect on aggression levels. However, there's also a lot of new studies emerging which indicate that video games improve attention levels which in turn could theoretically improve intelligence levels.

    With the example given, to say it was influenced by video games ignores three major points: the past behaviour of the boys in question, the home life of the boys in question and the fact that people have been doing hideous crimes since the dawn of time. It could have been a distal factor but it's definitely not a proximal one.

    If you want evidence then look at advertising. It plays on fears, anxieties and values which are already instilled in the target. It's why many imply that having Y product will make them more popular which further implies that not having product Y means you're a loser. It won't affect those who really don't care about that but it will have a greater effect on those who are concernned about their social status.

    You can't make a person believe they need something or should act in a particular way easily, especially through the media. I'll concede that Milgram indicated that you can push a person to do awful acts but there has to be direct human pressure there. The further the distance the experimenter has away from the participant, the less likely the participant will comply entirely.

    Anyway, long story short. I don't believe that the media such a huge influence on our behaviour.
    March 30th, 2012 at 12:50pm
  • svefn-gengar

    svefn-gengar (240)

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    The Master.:
    Weeeeeeeell, media can act as an influence on people...but not to the extent to which the theory implies. Hell, nowhere near that. To blame behaviour X purely on some form of media is really inaccurate.

    There are some studies that suggest that video games do have an effect on aggression levels. However, there's also a lot of new studies emerging which indicate that video games improve attention levels which in turn could theoretically improve intelligence levels.

    With the example given, to say it was influenced by video games ignores three major points: the past behaviour of the boys in question, the home life of the boys in question and the fact that people have been doing hideous crimes since the dawn of time. It could have been a distal factor but it's definitely not a proximal one.

    If you want evidence then look at advertising. It plays on fears, anxieties and values which are already instilled in the target. It's why many imply that having Y product will make them more popular which further implies that not having product Y means you're a loser. It won't affect those who really don't care about that but it will have a greater effect on those who are concernned about their social status.

    You can't make a person believe they need something or should act in a particular way easily, especially through the media. I'll concede that Milgram indicated that you can push a person to do awful acts but there has to be direct human pressure there. The further the distance the experimenter has away from the participant, the less likely the participant will comply entirely.

    Anyway, long story short. I don't believe that the media such a huge influence on our behaviour.
    You just restored the knowledge I acquired from doing A-level psychology, thank you! XD It's amazing how it can slip away once the exam's over.

    [/offtopic]

    The clincher, for me, in terms of the theory being quite weak, is the fact that violent crime has gone on way before video games were even thought of. Before harnessing electricity was ever thought of. If you ask me, the killers of Jamie Bulger have serious mental issues, probably not having been helped by the fact that their childhood was pretty poor. Media, as you said, could have been a small factor, but nothing more.

    --

    Is it me, or could this go on a different sub-forum? Only, it doesn't seem to me to have much to do with philosophy. XD
    March 30th, 2012 at 02:01pm
  • folie a dru.

    folie a dru. (1270)

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    I think if someone decides to kill someone because they played a violent video game, that there is a lot more wrong with them than an unhealthy fixation on video games.
    March 30th, 2012 at 09:31pm
  • based

    based (200)

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    I think this theory is totally illogical for one reason - it disregards all individual perspectives, experiences and levels of intelligence. Any content that is created and promoted must be created by another human mind, and it would be impossible for one human mind to defy all others. I do believe that the media effects almost all people in one way or another to a large degree, but you can never disregard all personal experiences and perspectives.
    June 20th, 2014 at 11:56am
  • CallusedSilk

    CallusedSilk (100)

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    I think it's a factor in people's life, but as for causation? No. My point simply for that is then why would there be such differences between countries?

    If video games, books or tv shows are such a huge influence on violent behavior, then why is there less violent behavior in Canada, UK and Australia vs America? Canada, UK, Australia and America all have access to violent shows, movies, songs, books and games.

    I feel it's more of a culture of fear that might play into it along with upbringing. However, It's a multi-variable problem, which makes it incredibly difficult to study. It's very difficult to see if people will react to media in the same way. We can do our best to minimize those issues with random sampling, double blind tests and keeping it all uniform, but how much are we actually able to control in a test?

    And to further that point, once you attempt to control that many variables, can you then generalize the results to the rest of the population?

    I mean, after all, even if you get 100 random men and 100 random women across different age ranges, ethnicity and socioeconomic backgrounds to do this test, are the people in the test good representations? There's an infinite number of variables that could influence the results, so data in things like this is always very difficult to interpret.
    June 20th, 2014 at 08:13pm
  • hazuki.

    hazuki. (175)

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    This is a very old theory and I think it was somewhat valid a loooong time ago, way before the internet came around.

    Now it's completely obsolete.
    June 21st, 2014 at 03:21pm
  • faster.

    faster. (300)

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    I think media can maybe bring out or introduce certain ideas to individuals, but at the end of the day you are who you are and playing Grand Theft Auto or listening to Marilyn Manson isn't going to cause you to bring a gun to school or anything of that nature. You'd have to be the type of person who would justify something like that in the first place. Now, maybe if somebody were purposely spoon fed a bunch of media leaning towards gun violence (or whatever, that's just an example) continuously from a very young age it could shape who they are and cause them to believe certain things or behave a certain way, but that would be because they were raised with that constant exposure to that and being told it's these things are okay or even glorified all their lives. Other than that type of scenario though, no, I don't think those things effect people in that way. People playing a video game understand that it's a video game or listening to music or seeing a movie understand that it's just a movie or words to a song. These things can be great ways for people to vent their anger without having to sink so low as to commit such crimes in real life, so in a sense, it could be preventative of these things for some people. Of course that's just my opinion, and if someone can prove me wrong then that opinion could change.
    December 13th, 2014 at 08:06pm
  • This.Useless.Heart.

    This.Useless.Heart. (115)

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    Media definitely influences culture (as well as being a product of culture, so it's sort of cyclical in that way I suppose) and culture influences pretty much every decision we make. Media also influences us on a personal level.
    However, I do not agree with the idea that media is responsible for individual decisions, such as committing murders. There are just too many other factors that need to be considered as well as the influence of media. I think it is inaccurate and irresponsible to place the blame on media like video games or violent movies for violent acts or murders in our society.
    January 2nd, 2015 at 08:28pm
  • P u n c h d r u n k

    P u n c h d r u n k (100)

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    Almost all advertising is directed at viewers to convince them that they will be happier, more fulfilled people, and be more desirable if they bought said product. Advertisement media is just about the most lonesome and sad construct out there, but it exists and works because it feeds off of already existing weaknesses. That being said, I don't believe that a violent video game, or a violent movie, TV show, or song will persuade someone to commit a violent crime if that person is not already inclined to do so.
    That such a person would be inclined towards violent imagery to me also seems a no-brainer, however many of us watch/listen, or otherwise absord violent imagery or messages without being inspired by them, instead some of us may be fascinated, appalled, or not particularly taken in.

    In short, I don't believe that violent media makes viewers violent. I think it's just an easy thing to blame.
    December 2nd, 2015 at 01:32am