Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Me, You, and a Bunch of Assumptions

Third person effects is defined in two parts. First is "... this hypothesis predicts that people will tend to overestimate the influence that mass communications have on the attitudes and behavior of others (3)." The second part is "... whether or not these individuals are among the ostensible audience for the message, the impact that they expect this communication to have on others may lead them to take some action (3)." If you were in class then you should already know this. What I find most interesting about this hypothesis is how it fits together with other phenomenon that Davison points out. They are pluralistic ignorance, spiral of silence, and bandwagon effect. Davison believes that third-person effects can go side-by-side with these other beliefs and I am inclined to agree with him. 

Looking at just bandwagon effect and third person we see that they go hand-in-hand. Bandwagon effect is pretty much joining the majority. The idea of these two things is complicated and possibly opposing theories. For example, let's say that President Cupcake is running for reelection. He starts campaigning and a couple of months down the road, he is the favorite to win. Looking at the bandwagon effect you would have someone vote for him since he is the most likely candidate to win. But from a third-person standpoint, you might say that you aren't going to vote for him due to his hatred of monkeys even though he is most likely going to win. You will also believe that people (they) will vote for him because he is winning (bandwagon effect). Do you see how complicated this can be? This example shows the relationship between bandwagon and third-person effect not even taking into account the theory of spiral of silence. I think I am developing a tumor. This might not be a great example but to me it seems you can't have one without the other. I have embedded a video that will test both bandwagon and third-person effect. See how this affects you.

1 comment:

  1. This is an interesting example because it plays on important in-person cues and the power of crowd suggestion. I actually wonder whether or not we can call this the third-person effect, at least in the strict sense of the term, since mass communications are not involved as an intermediary (I wondered this, too, when reading Chris's thought experiment about drivers). It certainly is a third-person effect in the general sense of reacting based off of cues provided by others, but is this media or is this theater? Does third-person effect only exist when we are not face-to-face, because it is then easier to overestimate effects? Things to ponder.