Media Influences and Other Selected Issues in Adolescent Psychology Texts

Essay by katib_1980 December 2007

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Over the years, a number of critical analyses have appeared regarding the content of textbooks in basic psychology (Gillen, 1973; Hofmann & Vyhonsky, 1975; Miller, 1978; Sommer & Sommer, 1983). Two of these analyses involved the issues of intelligence, socioeconomic background, and race (Miller, 1978; Sommer & Sommer, 1983). In these studies textbook research citations regarding the effects of environment and heredity on intellectual development were scrutinized and conclusions drawn concerning the accuracy and usefulness of these data for instructors and students of abnormal, developmental, and educational psychology.

Two other investigations (Gillen, 1973; Hofmann & Vyhonsky, 1975) addressed more basic issues—the readability and human-interest scores of introductory psychology and educational psychology texts. Reviewing the findings of these studies, Hofmann and Vyhonsky (1975) concluded that introductory educational psychology texts, in particular, may be too difficult and boring for first-year college learners.

Each of the two studies expressed concerns regarding the information reaching students of psychology and ultimately the general public through the content of textbooks and readings in basic psychology.

For the most part, the concerns involving the textbooks reviewed represented the misuse or misrepresentation of the materials cited. However, errors of omission may be equally important.

One possibly underrepresented area of importance is the influence of media on adolescent behavior and development. Television is believed to have considerable impact on youth (Baranowski, 1971; Murray, 1980). Likewise, popular music has been found to be closely related to adolescents' values, behaviors, and concerns (Larson & Kubey, 1983; Seltzer, 1976; Tanner, 1981). However, the degree to which media influences are addressed in adolescent psychology texts is unclear.

Some researchers have suggested that the content of popular music and television programming reflects the interests and concerns of adolescents (Coles, 1969; Seltzer, 1976; Tanner, 1981). Others have suggested that popular music plays a more active...