Behaviour And The Media

I have chosen to do my coursework on connections between behaviour and the media, for example does violence in the media encourage people who view it to be violent? And does the media give the impression criminals often do not get caught. The topics I have chosen to do my study from are ‘crime’ and also ‘the media’.

I have chosen to do this study because I think it will be interesting to know what affects, if any, the media has on people’s behaviour also it may give some insight into why people behave badly. So by doing this study I aim to find out if the media shows too much crime and if it is shown during inappropriate times in films and television programs.

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Questions I want answered in doing this are things such as how much of the media shows strong acts of deviance, what time do people watch television, how much television they watch and does this affect peoples behaviour.

Research Methods

Methods I am going to use to do my research are,

* Covert observation – observing peoples behaviour as they come out of the cinema to see if their behaviour mimics of reflects the behaviour of the film they watched.

* Questionnaire – to find out peoples favourite film genre, and how they would rate their behaviour.

* Survey – on what programs are shown, the time they are shown and their contents in terms of deviance and crime.

I chose these methods of research because seeing people’s behaviour first hand would be better than to ask staff at the cinema and security for example. The reason it is better to study the behaviour first hand is that if I get information on peoples behaviour second hand the person I am getting the information from may lie or over exaggerate or even forget things.

People who have done research similar to what I am doing have found different things and come up with different conclusions on the matter. The following is a collection of some people who have studied this topic, or something similar, previously and what they found:

Dr. Susan Bailey

Dr. Bailey came to the conclusion that films and videos etc do not make young people kill, however she does think that the films influence the way they killed or committed a crime or act if deviance.

McQualis came up with 6 possible effects of the media, which are;

– To produce the major change it intends to.

– To produce the major change that was not intended

– To produce major change

– To bring about some change when other influences occur as well

– Reinforces what already exists

– Prevent some change that would other wise occur

Points 2 and 4 could be used in conjunction with my research to support my hypothesis.

Four un-named sociologists do not actually think that there has been an increase in crime rates but it just appears like that because the media exaggerates what deviance there is more than it used to .


My hypothesis that I aim to prove by the end of my study on ‘Behaviour and the media’ is that peoples behaviour will mimic that of their favourite television programs and their favourite films, and their genres, also that there is too much deviance is shown in the media and is often during the or early hours of the night so it is viewed by a young audience and. Also because the media shows a lot of violence and death in the media such as in the news and, more worrying, cartoons people might not think of it as wrong but as being natural and for that behaviour to be acceptable in society.

Problems that I might come across when doing my study are things such as;

– Choosing my sample method and possibly my sample

– Finding out what film people have just seen

– People may not be truthful in answering questions such as, “on a scale of 1 to 10 how would you rate your behaviour”


When I was observing people coming out of the cinema I noticed a large amount of people, mostly males, acting out scenes from films, and particular stunts, both on friends and also unsuspecting members of the public who may or may not of known that their behaviour was mimicked from a film, this may cause the ‘victim’ to be led to the conclusion that it was an act of deviance on them.

The behaviour between males and that of females coming out of the cinema was not much different but the attitudes taken to the behaviour of females was somewhat different that it was for males, people took the behaviour of males much more seriously than they did for females even though the levels and behaviour where on a similar scale, the consequences for the males was usually worse, the end result sometimes involved in security escorting people away from the area and one incident involved the police. Nothing like this happened involving females. This resulted in me thinking that many people in that area are biased and sexist because people such as security, cinema staff and staff at near by shops do not think of females as being deviant.

Television Survey

For my research I checked television guides with the times people watched television mostly, I found out what the times where from my questionnaire, to see what television programs where shown at that time,

For males the most common time for watching television was between 6pm and 9 pm, a lot of programs shown at this time contained a lot of adult material such as sexual references and violence, for females the most common time was also between 6pm and 9pm.

This did not help me much with my research because there was a large variety of material shown at this time, however most of the material was of an adult nature.

Programs shown between 6pm and 9pm included; The Simpson’s, Friends, Holly oaks, Eastenders (other British soaps) and also programs such as Wire In The Blood, and inspector Morse, which contains a lot of violent material a lot of which was gruesome, there was many programs of this kind shown at this time as well.

Analysis of Results

My results showed that the majority of boys preferred thriller films and action, where as girls mostly proffered musicals and romance. Boys also rated their behaviour worse than the girls did, this pattern could mean that the thriller and action films that the boys watched could be affecting their behaviour. Thirteen boys out of the twenty asked said their behaviour did reflect their favourite film type. The figure for girls that agreed their behaviour reflected their favourite film type was twelve out of twenty.

From my results I can see that boys generally watch more television than girls do and that it is at a later time, this will affect the material that they view because the most popular time for watching television for girls was between 6pm and 9pm which is inside the water shed meaning the material is most likely to be suitable for family viewing, the most popular viewing time for boys was the same as it was for girls but a lot more boys watched television later as well during times outside of the watershed which means that a lot of the material they viewed would probably contain adult material.

When looking at television guides I found that television programs shown during the most popular viewing times for boys and girls where mainly soap operas which, although inside the watershed, contained storylines that may not be appropriate such as murders, violence, and affairs.

I did not answer all the questions I had hoped to answer in my aims however I did answer some of the questions I intended to such as ‘how much television do people watch?’ and ‘does television and film affect behaviour’


I could not prove or disprove my hypothesis, because after doing my research I could see that to prove or disprove my hypothesis I would have to have done more thorough questionnaires and done research on a larger scale for example; doing observations in more than one place and giving out more questionnaires.

My findings where as I expected in both my observation and in the results of my questionnaire. My findings where useful but not as useful as I would of thought I think this may be because my questionnaire was not very thorough, there could have been more questions and the questions where not very relevant to my research.

My work does not back up any of the secondary data I collected I think this is because the data I collected was not linked directly to my research, and because of this comparisons between the research could not be made easily.

If I was to do this research again I would do observations in different places instead of just one, this will make my data more reliable I would also give out questionnaires to a larger sample, again to make the data more reliable and to get more varied data. I think there are lots of parts of my research that could have been better the analysis of my results and my aims, I don’t realy think there is a part of my work which could be chosen as being better than the rest.

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