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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Communication

Year Degree Awarded

2018

Month Degree Awarded

February

First Advisor

Michael Morgan

Second Advisor

Erica Scharrer

Third Advisor

Wenona Rymond-Richmond

Subject Categories

Communication | Mass Communication

Abstract

With an ever-increasing variety of platforms, devices and services to choose from, new media technologies have altered and transformed the television viewing experience. With television more accessible and convenient than ever, viewers are consuming even more content, ensuring that television continues to dominate the cultural landscape. Therefore, it is imperative to understand how television viewing in the current media environment impacts audiences. For more than fifty years, cultivation theory has proven to be an enduring and generative research approach to understanding how exposure to the world of television shapes audiences' views of social reality. However, no cultivation study to date has addressed the question of how different television technologies and patterns of viewing intervene in the cultivation process. This study fills this void by examining this unexplored area of cultivation research. A questionnaire was developed that measured television exposure in the current media environment, specifically focusing on the use of new and traditional viewing platforms, devices, and services. These new and traditional forms of exposure were presented along with measures of overall viewing, demographic control items, and traditional measures of cultivation outcomes, including estimates of violence, crime, and the distribution of law enforcement in the workforce, and second order measures including mean world views and politically moderate ideology. Employing a cross-sectional research design, five hundred and nine adults completed the questionnaire designed for this study. In order to investigate the impact of new and traditional forms of exposure on the cultivation process, regression analyses were conducted for each cultivation outcome, with overall exposure serving as the independent variable, and each new and traditional form of exposure serving as a moderating variable. Each regression analysis tested the interaction between overall exposure and each respective moderating variable to determine whether the interaction significantly predicted the cultivation outcome. For each of the significant interactions, further analyses were conducted to specifically examine how cultivation outcomes varied across levels of exposure as a function of the moderator variable. The patterns of conditional effects reveal the ways in which traditional and new forms of exposure both differentially and similarly impacted the cultivation process. And, there is evidence, albeit mixed, that new and traditional forms of exposure differentially impact cultivation outcomes. This study serves as a starting point for future analysis and avenues of inquiry into what was previously an unexplored area of cultivation research: the implications of new and traditional forms of viewing on the cultivation process.

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