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How Fantasy Becomes Reality Seeing Through Media Influence



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Oxford University Press
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  • How Fantasy Becomes Reality Information and Entertainment Media in Everyday Life, Revised and Expanded
    How Fantasy Becomes Reality Information and Entertainment Media in Everyday Life, Revised and Expanded


It's a common belief that the stories we encounter through mass media--whether in video games, action movies, or political comedy skits on Saturday Night Live--are just entertaining fantasies that have no tangible impact on our everyday lives, attitudes, and choices. Not so, says Karen Dill in this lively and provocative book. As much as we may want to deny it, the images, sounds, and narratives that bombard us daily have ample power to alter our realities. Dill, the author of the single-most-cited study on the effects of video-game violence, draws on extensive research in social psychology to show not only the myriad ways--for good and ill--that media influence us, but also why we resist believing they do. Vibrantly written and packed with eye-opening examples from everyday life, her wide-ranging analysis encompasses everything from gender and racial stereotyping to social identity, domestic violence, and presidential politics. She discusses the ways that super-thin models and actresses have altered women's self-images, dissects the manipulative strategies of advertising aimed at children and medical consumers, and explains how the "fake news" of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report may offer more authentic and incisive coverage than the cable channels and network newscasts. She also assesses the growing importance of "new media" like text-messaging, blogs, and Facebook in how we communicate and process information. In a media-saturated society, Dill argues, understanding precisely how these powerful forces affect us and learning how to deal with them are vital to the very way we function as citizens. How Fantasy Become Reality shows what we can do to move from the passenger's seat to the driver's seat as media consumers.

Author Biography

Karen Dill is a social psychologist who studies mass media, particularly violence, gender and racial stereotyping as well as positive aspects of media. Her dissertation has long been the most cited academic paper on video game violence. She has given expert testimony before the US Congress twice, has spoken around the world as a media psychology expert and has been interviewed by the media worldwide including by the BBC, Time Magazine, USA Today and Japan's national network NHK. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children and was recently the recipient of the League of Women Voters' Outstanding Woman of the Catawba Valley award. She is Professor of Psychology at Lenoir-Rhyne College.

Table of Contents

Media Psychologyp. 3
Fantasy and Reality: A Primer on Media and Social Constructionp. 5
Challenges and Opportunities of Growing Up in a Media-Saturated Worldp. 31
Issues and Controversies in the Social Psychology of Mass Mediap. 59
Media Violence: Scholarship Versus Salesmanshipp. 61
Seeing Through and Seeing Beyond Media Visions of Race and Genderp. 88
Issues in Media and Social Learning: Rap Music, Beauty and Domestic Violencep. 118
The Social Psychology of Media Influencep. 141
Advertising, Consumerism, and Healthp. 143
Get with the Programming: Media Messages About Who You Arep. 167
The Social Psychology of Political Coveragep. 188
Redefining Freedom in a Media-Rich Landscapep. 221
From the Passenger's Seat to the Driver's Seatp. 223
Notesp. 241
Bibliographyp. 256
Indexp. 298
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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