The Effects Of Movies On School Going Children And Young Adults Essay

The Effects Of Movies On School Going Children And Young Adults Essay

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Nickelodeons developed and grew as a major entertainment phenomenon for the working class in the 1920s and created the question of audience reception in the public discourse in the United States (Stokes & Maltby, 2001). Effect of movies on school going children and young adults was a major cause of concern for which a private educational foundation commissioned a series of twelve empirical studies called Payne Fund Studies. These studies were conducted to understand the effects of movies on young people as a ‘social force’ motivating the attitudes and behavior’ (Handel, 1950) such as ‘stimulation of emotions, harm to health, erosion of moral conduct and influence of conduct’ (Lowery & De Fleur, 1988). Since the studies were a first of its kind, using its finding for contemporary audience would not be useful (Lowery & De Fleur, 1988). However, these were the first studies to raise the question of effects of media in general and that of movies in particular.
During World War II, effects of movies acquired an important status in research due to its significance to the military. War department commissioned a research to determine the effect of orientation and training films on soldiers to see if they can achieve certain orientation objectives like hatred for enemy, positive attitude for allies, etc. (Hovland, Lumsdaile, & Sheffield, 1966). The purpose was to check the factual knowledge retention as well as changes in attitudes of soldiers after watching those orientation films. Results showed the possibility of ‘sleeper’ effects meaning that soldiers’ attitude changed in the long run (Hovland et al., 1966). Since the studies were designed to test the effectiveness of specific films on a selective specialized audience, it would be d...

... middle of paper ... the reading of the text critiqued the aspects of imperialism in Western cinema in perpetuating its own discourse of power and misrepresenting the ‘other’ (Shohat, 2008). Weber (2006) conducted an analysis of the ‘imagined character(s) of the family and the nation’ in post 9/11 films proposing that those films showed a moral high ground for Americans. Similarly, Hollywood’s political-economic structure has been critiqued for purposefully showcasing the United States as a well-intentioned benevolent force in war films (Alford, 2010). Whether the audiences actually receive these pro-American themed movies as a glorification of American heroism and propagation of imperialism, and nationalism needs investigation.
RQ1: Do pro-American movies create a pro-American bias?
RQ2: Do people perceive pro-American movies as tales of American heroism, nationalism and imperialism?

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