Thursday, November 02, 2006

media effects on schema

A study by Pew found that the approval rating of the US in Turkey has been really low. At first, they hypothesized it was related to the Iraq war. But further analysis discovered that some recent very popular movies in Turkey are shoot-em-up action movies where the bad guys are Americans. This led to the lower approval ratings.

It is not surprising that media, even though we know they are fictional, can impact the affective connections of real schema. These movies were very salient because they were fun, violent, action-filled, loud, etc. So it didn't matter that they were also tagged as fictional, they can't help but influence the development of ethnic schema of Americans.

The same thing happens in the US when communities with few minorities see our movies that depict African-American and Hispanic characters as drug dealers, criminals, etc. Because the movies are salient, they are the only experience some people have with minorities, and they are repetitive (most movies do this), they strongly impact schema. It is a shame that the media have such a deleterious affect on so many people. And we do know that they are fictional, so it is hard to argue for any kind of regulation.