From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Jan 14 2002 - 11:48:58 GMT

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 11:48:58 -0000
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    >>"so the notion of people seeing acts as more legitimate because
    >>others are seen to perform them is problematised."

            <yes it is problematised - and as with anything in a complex
    > social world in which one or many events can have one or many outcomes,
    > there can be no irrefutable evidence - the best we can do is produced
    > narratives with internal and external consistency.>
            Agreed, but if only this is what the effects community actually did.

            <TO this end there IS a wealth of laboratory experimental evidence
    > demonstrates disinhibition via media. You can dismiss such laboratory
    > experiments of course because they are conducted in artificial
    > conditions.>
            There are many reasons to dismiss lab based experiments, not least
    the inconsistency of the results, the unnatural setting, the problem of
    extent of exposure, the problem of the extent of apparent effect and so on.
    More worrying to my mind is the extent to which proponents of strong media
    effects persist in referencing discredited studies (e.g. Bandura's bobo doll

            <There IS also a wealth of natural experimental evidence that
    > effects expected by disinhibition - which you can also dismiss because not
    > all variables are controlled for - precisely because they are conducted in
    > the real world.>
            And yet surely these external variables are precisely what one
    should be looking for? Why don't these studies, again decades worth of
    studies, do this? Because people want a simple scapegoat.

            <So Heads I lose, Tails I lose - You can dismiss natural experiments
    for not isolating Ind Variable and Dep Variable, and you can dismiss
    > experiments becasue they do the opposite. But on the balance of imprecise
    > evidence available - media contagion is the best explanation I have come
    > accross for unexpected rises in events following mediate exposure to
    > similar events.>
            You're entitled to your professional opinion. Maybe one day we'll
    get an answer. I don't think, however, that we should base our views on
    flawed- not imprecise, flawed- data. What you have to do, in my mind, is
    explain why, apparently, only some kinds of social phenomena increase after
    media exposure, how it happens if it does and so on. Despite my poo-pooing
    of the root notion, I should say I think your efforts at bringing memetics
    into the mix here is commendable, and very interesting. I know I'm a bit
    terse at times, but I don't mean to be half the time, and certainly not to
    you who, after all, is really getting on with some important work in the

    >>You only have to look at
    >>the complex range of suggested effects of violence in the
    >>literature, as witnessed in media, from catharsis to
    desensitisation, to
    >>disinhibition (not unlike the social facilitation idea).

            <Disinhibition differs, by the way, according to standard teminology
    in soc
    > pys from social facilitation by the presence a prior approach-avoidance
    > conflict.>
            Well I didn;t say it was the same thing...


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