ERIC Number: ED164403
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Aug
"...And Now A Story about Today's News."
Hornstein, Harvey A.
The news media plays an important role in shaping opinions about the character of American society. Through the news, people learn about the prevalence of human benevolence or malevolence. The author conducted several tests to evaluate the effects of news on individuals of various ages and backgrounds. Experimental groups were told that they would be taking a test about decision making. As they waited for the test to begin, radios in the waiting rooms broadcasted news reports of either a positive or negative nature. One group heard a report about a violent murder by a clergyman; another heard a report about a clergyman's donation of a kidney to a dying man. After the reports had been broadcasted the radios were turned off and the experimental groups were told that their test would begin. They answered questions about the moral and ethical dispositions of people in general. Results indicated that the groups who had heard the negative broadcasts responded more negatively to questions about society. The author comments that the nature of the news media to report exciting, novel, and violent stories promotes a public over-reaction of alienation. The author suggests that psychologists work together with the news media to present reports in such a way that they will be exciting, understandable, and give a more balanced view of human social behavior. (Author/AV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of American Psychological Association (Toronto, Ontario, August 1978)