Experiment Testing meet Elle Woods

In class on Wednesday, September 31st we had just begun to talk about experiments when we learned we would be watching Legally Blonde. My first reaction was confusion, because I am pretty familiar with the movie and I could not factor in how Legally Blonde related to experiments, moreover media effecting research. Once the clip was over and the testing complete, it all made sense. Initially, however I made the executive decision to just go with it, because even though I could not see a parallel to the movie and experiments there had to be one.

Upon completion of the testing, I have to admit experimental testing based solely on the activity in class, I would say is very beneficial to how media effects research. Earlier in the week while in small groups, I had contributed the question to our set of five questions for our topic of advertising, about whether or not subliminal advertising was effective. While we did not receive many responses, of the responses, only one of the individuals felt subliminal messaging was an effective means of advertising. The exercise we conducted in class on Wednesday rather disproved any assumptions that subliminal messaging was not in fact effective.

Who knew that we were being introduced to products in movies and television that was not completely apparent? Okay, you got me, I did know. However, what I did not know was how prevalent these products were. Usually I can spot blatant, unabashed advertising. And not just the kind the professor used as an example like from the TV show Heroes. I pride myself on my observatory skills, I do not miss too much, especially in moves. So let me blame lack of sleep on momentary lapse Wednesday during the Legally Blonde clip.

Something that surprised me was that these messages stick with you. Not just the ones you are aware of but the ones you are not, too. It is almost a bit scary to think that brands like Pepsi and Prada are making an impression on us without our being aware of it.

Now back to the whether or not I feel like experiments are beneficial to studying how media effects research. My answer is yes. According to our textbook, “the experiment seeks to gather [this] data under controlled conditions” (pg. 35). Unlike qualitative surveys and open-ended questions used for survey purposes, experiments are less subject to the participants and capable of more control by the researcher. The book goes on to discuss variables using an example of the sugar substitute in diet coke in relation to cancer. The sugar substitute is the independent variable causing the dependent variable, the cancer. In comparison to the movie clip we watched, the independent variable would be the product placement causing and increase or decrease in sales, the dependent variable.

Random assignment and identical treatment are then discussed, imparting on the reader the importance of keeping the experimental conditions equivalent (pg. 36). Ensuring that everyone has an equal exposure to the products placed in the moved and that they are being introduced to them in the same ways ensures equality in the research process with no group more likely to be affected than another.

Another key factor in experiments is the control group. A control group is vital to the success of an experiment, because a researcher’s results can be completely changed by the results of a control group (pg. 37).

When reading over the example assessing the effects of mood on music listening choice, the role of experiments as it pertains to media effecting research is enhanced by the careful detail the experimental testing had on the research. And I completely agree.

Tiffany Lempesis


Content Analysis: Blue’s Clues Ep. 53 (Signs)

Let me start by saying, as a nanny for many years, over the years I have watched my share of Blue’s Clues. However never once did I notice the “signs” being shown. Now maybe that has something to do with my attempt to pay as little attention to the new era of preschool television as possible, I do not know. What I do know is that the twins I care for at the moment watch Blue’s Clues every evening before bed and have done so for over a year, with this in mind, not once have I ever seen them repeat any “signs” they have seen from the show. So without further ado I will reflect on the particular episode our class watched Monday, August 29th.

Our group (Erica, Maisah, Tiffany, Lenisha, Ariana) found a series of signs, while only about 10 of them were repeated enough times to be memorable. Here is a list of the signs our group noticed: blue, eat, no, goodbye, quiet, writing, help, drive, go, this way, bridge, thank you, outside, hi Steve, good morning friends, good morning sun, good morning kitten, good morning book, good morning dog, good morning blue, good morning Steve, have a wonderful day, C, see, definitely, one sunny day, a girl, was sitting by a tree, great, eating, i understand, stood up, walking, next part, scared, elephant, friends, bye, table, thinking, where, signs. And this list is just a list of the individual signs seen, not of how often either of these signs was portrayed.

In response to whether or not content analysis is the best way to study media effects, my opinion is that on its own no it is not, but as part of a bigger research project it has its merits. According to Glenn G. Sparks, author of Media Effects Research our textbook for this class, “Content analysis […] helps us to discover what content is present that might be bringing about various effects” (pg. 20). Content analysis allowed us to compile a collection of the various signs used, by whom, how and when. The data collected would be useful for research.

Last semester, I worked on a quantitative research project where content analysis, had we decided to use it, would have been very helpful when categorizing the verbal and nonverbal communication we were observing. If only as a means of organizing the abundance of data we collected for the qualitative research paper.

As a means of objectivity and systematic, content analysis is very effective for a team of researchers, so that all the data is fluid and consistent. In terms of efficiency, content analysis is overwhelming in regards to the Blue’s Clues episode the class viewed. My group stumbled through the parts where the signs were being fired at us rapidly, even with the professor rewinding and replaying the episode. And if a group of college-aged students find the episode and the information it contained overwhelming, it is no wonder the 4-year-old twins I look after have no idea they are getting a crash course in American Sign language.

Tiffany Lempesis

Little Dede Got Peppermints So Everyone Is Occupied

…Logical, Deterministic, General, Parsimonius, Specific, Empirically verifiable, Intersubjective, Open to modifications…

“Little Dede Got Peppermints So Everyone Is Occupied,” has a nice ring to it don’t you think? This is what I came up with to help to remember the Nature of Science.

The above catchy sentence would be easy for me to recall during a test because I am a nanny. I work with kids and the easiest way to quiet a child is to give them a peppermint or some other form of food. This is something I learned from my grandmother who used to give me and my cousins peppermints while at church so that we would be still. When I am not thinking about school, I am thinking about work. This sentence would come very naturally to my memory even during times of high stress like a test.
Litte Dede got peppermints so everyone is occupied. Makes perfect sense to me.
Tiffany Lempesis

Pre-Course Reflections

To be honest I was not sure what I was expecting from a class on the uses and effects of media, despite the fact that the course title sums it up. I just looked at the course as a requirement for graduation. Then I get to class and the professor tells us we will not be having exams and instead will be keeping up with a blog in their place. I do not know about the rest of you but I was pretty excited.

In addition to no exams and creating a blog, I am now optimistic about this class and what I will be learning for the remaining semester. Sure we use media and of course it effects us, but how and why? The media is everywhere we go. My net book and cellphone keep me constantly “plugged in” so in a literal sense it is everywhere I go. But it is more. Media is on the tv we watch, in the newspaper we read, on the billboards we pass while driving. All of this media impacts us one way or another.

Recently, literally 4 weeks ago recently, my husband broke his leg and is unable to walk around much, let alone work, so he spends most of his day watching the Food Network, by the time I get home from school or work, he’s already concocting the perfect hamburger or pecan pie recipe.

My husband is using the tv (ie. the media)  for entertainment and it is effecting him. He cannot just watch Man Vs. Food stuff his face for a chance to get his picture on the Hall of Fame cork board, no, my husband wants that steak. Which in turn tends to tell us what we are having for dinner that evening.

I use media and it effects me every day. Going into this class, I’m curious to find out what happens next.

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