Cultivation Theory

Knowledge Center

   

Description of Cultivation Theory. Explanation.

Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Forum
  3. Best Practices
  4. Expert Tips
  5. Resources
  6. Print
 
Cultivation Theory (Source: Hawkins and Pingree, 1983)

Definition Cultivation Theory. Description.


The Cultivation Theory is a mass communication theory that suggests a shaping - cultivating -  cumulative long-term effect of TV media on the social reality of viewers.


Origin of Cultivation Theory. History

The Cultivation Theory has been developed by professor George Gerbner from Annenberg School of Communications of Philadelphia, US, in 1967-1974. He was conducting research called “Cultural Indicators Program” about the impact of violence broadcasted in TV programs on individuals.

His early hypothesis aimed to demonstrate that a massive use of media leads to an increase in acceptance of violence and in the engagement of cruel behaviors. Gerbner started considering TV as a new social agent competing with traditional ones such as family, school, church and peer groups. Analyzing TV programs, especially fictions, he divided audiences in 3 groups:

  1. Low Users, those who watch TV less than 2 hours a day.
  2. Normal Users, those who watch TV from 2 to 6 hours a day.
  3. Heavy Users, those who watch TV for more than 6 hours a day.

Through an accurate analysis of the three groups, Gerbner formulated his Cultivation Theory.


The theory holds that even a massive use of the medium television has no immediate effects on individuals’ mindset but in the long run a cultivation effect is able to alter the perception of reality and drive individuals to live in a skewed model, derived from what is broadcasted on TV. See also: Limited Effects Theory, Lasswell’s 5 Ws Model, Uses and Gratification Theory, and Play Theory. Unlike the Persuasion Theory, Gerbner argues that media effects are visible only in the long run and are also unintentional. A peculiarity of his theory was the focus on media effects on people that don’t have a strong awareness of society and its dynamics (young people). Kids and teenagers have a less critical sense and few experiences in the real world. Gerbner claims that those people, especially heavy users among them, are literally “cultivated” by TV, hence the name Cultivation Theory. In fact kids, who lack models from the real world, are heavily conditioned from events and models represented on TV. They tend to grow with a simplified, stereotyped and skewed view of reality that in the long run overlaps the objective reality of daily life.


Gerbner’s Cultural Indicators Program focused on both content and audience:

  • Content: it was demonstrated that in TV programs there is an over representation of certain events (more violence and thus more cops) and certain categories of people (more people from the middle class, typically white rich men).
  • Audience: Gerbner’s earlier hypothesis of “cultivation” was confirmed and also the validity of the mainstreaming effect: media are capable of influencing their audiences by making interests of a dominant elite (white rich men) prevail. Compare with: Validity Effect. From a sociological viewpoint it means that media serve to reinforce people’s status quo while slowing down social changes. This means that an intense exposure to media leads to a standardization and homogenization of people’s culture.

Of course, the Cultivation Theory has not been free from critics:

  • The main critic concerns Gerbner’s poor consideration of psychological and sociological variables in audiences.
  • In addition, there is no proof that media effects, and in particularly TV, can be compared to effects of public opinion. Compare with: Spiral of Silence.
  • Thirdly, there is no statistic correlation between a high exposure to TV and an increase in violent behaviors; thus there is no evidence that violence is triggered by TV programs, because an increase in violence in the world can be the result of many other variables far more complex than TV.
  • Lastly, in other contexts different from the US there have been other results regarding media effects, so part of Gerbner’s findings can only find application in US or other Anglophonic countries.

Cultivation Theory Forum
  Mean World Syndrome in the Cultivation Theory
An important element of Gerbner’s Cultivation Theory is the distinction between light and heavy viewers of television.
An important finding of Gerbner is that when a comparison between these groups was made, heavy users were more likely to say t...
     
 
  Quotes on the Cultivation Effect of TV. Quotations
Hi, do you know of a remarkable, humorous quote by a famous person or a proverb related to the long-term effect of TV on viewers?
Please enter a reaction to share it for other people to enjoy! Please use this template:
Author Name Year of Birth...
     
 

Cultivation Theory Special Interest Group


Special Interest Group

 

Best Practices - Cultivation Theory Premium

Expert Tips - Cultivation Theory Premium
 

Extensions of Cultivation Theory

The article "The State of Cultivation" discusses the recent development in the Cultivation Theory of Gerbner; it discusses several extensions. ...
Usage (application): Advertising, Media Strategy
 
 

Resources - Cultivation Theory Premium

Persuasion Techniques, Intentional and Subliminal Persuasion by Media

This presentation is about Persuasive effects of the media and includes the following sections:
1. What is persuasion?
2. How Media Messages...
Usage (application): Persuasion Techniques, Subliminal Persuasion, Media Cultivation
 

Introduction Into Cultivation Theory

This presentation provides an introduction into the Cultivation Theory. It actually explains the research that has lead to the development of this the...
Usage (application): Media Effects, Media Management, Mass Media
 

Oversight of Various Theories About Media Effects

Presentation that gives an oversight of theories about media and its effects on their audience.
The following theories are briefly described:
...
Usage (application): Media Effects, Media Management, Mass Media
 
 

News

Cultivation Theory
     
 

Videos

Cultivation Theory
     
 

Presentations

Cultivation Theory
     
 

More

Cultivation Theory
     

Compare with: Dependence Theory  |  Mass Communication Theories  |  Ambient Advertising

Special Interest Group Leader

You here


 

Return to Management Hub: Communication & Skills  |  Ethics & Responsibility  |  Marketing


More on Management  |  Return to Management Dictionary  | 

 

This ends our Cultivation Theory summary and forum.

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us | Privacy | Terms of Service
Copyright 2016 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V14.1 - Last updated: 7-12-2016. All names tm by their owners.