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MOREIRA, Maria Paula  and  MONTEIRO, Maria Benedicta. TV and beliefs about social reality. Psicologia [online]. 2009, vol.23, n.1, pp.27-54. ISSN 0874-2049.

This study aimed to understand the relationship between television viewing (time and violent content) and the construction of social beliefs regarding social reality, such as fear of victimization, interpersonal mistrust and locus of control, as suggested by Gerbner and his associates in the Cultivation Theory. Questionnaires were administrated to 226 students ranged in age from 15 to 18. ANOVAS were conducted to explore the impact of television exposure, television violent content viewing, gender and family social status on the students’ social beliefs. Results showed that the relationship between television exposure and some social beliefs exists, although not as linearly as defended by Gerbner and associates when launching the foundations of the Cultivation Theory. Among other results, on the personal fear-external control factor it was found that high television exposure had opposite effects on viewers according to their gender: While female heavy TV viewers were more fearful of being victims and more externally controlled, male heavy viewers generally tended to be less personally fearful and more internally controlled. To assess how well TV exposure (time and violent content), gender and family SES predicted social beliefs, a multiple regression analysis was conducted, and data indicated that TV viewing was a significant predictor of the three areas of social beliefs.

Keywords : violence; television; mass media; cultivation theory.

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