Mean World Syndrome in the Cultivation Theory

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Mean World Syndrome in the Cultivation Theory
Anneke Zwart, Student (University), Netherlands

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 that the world is a dangerous, scary and an intimidating place; people in this intimidating world were more “untrustable and “just looking out for themselves” (Gerbner et al, 1980).
This conclusion became world wide known as the“Mean World Syndrome”.
Source: Morgan, M and J Shanahan (2010). “The State of Cultivation“. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 54:2, 337-355
Gerbner, G., Gross, L., Morgan, M. And N. Signorielli. (1980). “The ‘‘mainstreaming’’ of America: Violence Profile No. 11.” Journal of Communication, 30(3), 10–29.



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