Cultivation Theory is significant in mass communication

Cultivation Theory is significant in mass communication (Gerbner and Gross 1976). Cultivation theory states that high frequency viewers of television are more susceptible to media messages and the belief that they are real and valid.

According to the website, they began research in the mid-1960s endeavoring to study media effects, specifically whether watching television influences the audiences idea and perception of everyday life, and if so, how. Heavy viewers are exposed to more violence and therefore are affected by the Mean World Syndrome, the belief that the world is a far worse and dangerous place then it actually is. It showed that after a prolonged exposure to television will affect the concept of social realities of the viewer.

Based on what written on the website of, Mean World Syndrome is an assumption of cultivation theory, George Gerbner came up with the term to describe a phenomenon whereby violence related content in television and film makes viewers believe that the world is more dangerous than it actually is. People who watch a lot of violent television are more likely to believe that there are more murders etc. then there are in the real world. Cultivation theory other assumption also stated that television viewing can have long-term effects that gradually affect the audience.

There are few assumptions from this theory. Since television has become a part of our life, people tend to spend more time watching television than at any other activities except sleep and occupational duties (Comstock, Chaffee, & Kautzman, 1978; Kubey & Csikszentmihalyi, 2002). The frequency of time people use watching television is unexpected. On average, persons in the developed world watch about 21 hours per week, which translates into nine years in front of the tube in a regular lifetime (Shrum, Burroughs & Rindfleisch, 2003). According to website University of Twente, there is also a distinction between two groups of television viewers: the heavy viewers and the light viewers. The focus is on ‘heavy viewers’. People who watch a lot of television are likely to be more influenced by the ways in which the world is framed by television programs than are individuals who watch less, especially regarding topics of which the viewer has little first-hand experience. Light viewers may have more sources of information than heavy viewers.

Television has play a very big roll in someone life, because most of the people in Malaysia have television at their home. Television will always give effects to the audiences it is either negative or positive effects. Television is also used as propaganda tool to convey the message of whether positive or negative (Zuarida Mohyin 2012)

Cultivation theorist argue that television has gradual long-term effects but they are small but over time unlike the hypodemic needle model which does not really give any time period. They also argue that these changes are not actually changes they just reinforce the norms. According to Gerbner, the people who watch a lot of television are more likely to be influenced. So basically, the theories requires a lot of television viewing and it only reinforced that person’s opinion rather than changing it.

Next, for example if our person likes to shopping and a media are only reinforcing their opinion that shopping is great, the person’s will really like shopping
rather than changing their opinion they have reinforced them. The other example here is, one there is two group of people who watch television. The first group watch a lot of television and the second group watch a little of television. The group that were watch a lot of television particularly action and adventure programs were indeed found to be more fearful of life in the everyday world than the ones who who were watching less television. This show the television overtime is having a slight effect on those groups.

Cultivation theorists generally look to violence on television while other people have looked at other aspects of this effect thinking whether it applies to gender roles or age or ethnicity. Another examples is those who watched a lot of soap operas compared to those that did not were far more likely to overestimate the amount of divorces or abortions.

Cultivation theory has been criticizes many people thinks it is far to simplistics it does not take into account the person’s experience or cultural background. Besides that, the audience is passive, it might be fair to think that the cultivation theory does not really happen today because there is so many different channels and different choices out there and so many different types of meeting. In the other hand, people do tend to stick with what they know and watch and read media that backs up their own opinions.