ERIC Number: ED232227
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May-27
Reference Count: 0
How Films Function as Persuasion for the Mass Audience.
Reaching millions of people weekly, film is possibly the most persuasive of all media today. Its success is due to the combination of the filmmakers' shrewd audience analysis and audience techniques with the medium's ability to involve viewers intellectually, emotionally, and even physically in the vivid images on the screen. Once a major means of socializing European and Asian immigrants, commercial films today still encourage consumer socialization, sparking audience demand for both goods seen during movies and spin-off items such as toys and T-shirts, sold afterward. Although usually supporting accepted social values--the pain caused by the father's absence in "E.T.," for example, reaffirms the importance of family unity--films at times contradict widely held attitudes. The psychological imbalance created by such a contradiction forces viewers to clarify their own positions. More than attitudes, movies influence behavior, encouraging viewers to model their actions after sympathetic film characters. Recent studies, for example, suggest that rationalized film violence, especially when performed by characters with whom the audience can identify, increases aggressive behavior in viewers. Further research on the impact of such an influential medium is needed. (MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Response
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (Dallas, TX, May 26-30, 1983).