According to Grant & Osanlo (2014) “theoretical framework consists of the selected theory (or theories) that undergird your thinking with regards to how you understand and plan to research your topic, as well as the concepts and definitions from that theory that are relevant to your topic”. Abend and Gabriel (2013) explains that “the theoretical framework introduces and describes the theory that explains why the research problem under study exists”. Creswell (2003) “makes distinctions between literature used for qualitative studies and quantitative studies. In quantitative methods, presentation of a theoretical framework is crucial to the study, which will have been designed to test the theory. However, qualitative studies can also use a theoretical framework”. (Labaree, 2018) “Moreover the theoretical framework must demonstrate an understanding of theories and concepts that are relevant to the topic of your research paper and that relate to the broader areas of knowledge being considered”.
The proposed theoretical framework for current study is comprised of two theories. First, adolescent girls must consume media and formulate an overall expectation of women empowerment. This can be explained by Cultivation Theory. Second, how much adolescent girls can observe and learn from that ideal expectation created by exposure to media, and this can be explained through Social Learning Theory.
Cultivation Theory is significant in mass communication. (Gerbner and Gross, 1976 ) “It states if a heavy viewer is exposed to more violence content eventually effected by the Mean World Syndrome, an idea that the world is worse than it actually is”. Morgan, Shanahan and Signorielli (2017) explains that “cultivation analysis describes a body of research that looks at relationships between exposure to mass media (most often television) and beliefs about the world (attitudes, and sometimes behaviors). It is one of the most frequently encountered and often discussed theories within the field of media effects”. (Gerbner & Gross, 1976) “Cultivation is a sociocultural theory regarding the role of television in shaping viewers’ perceptions, beliefs, attitudes, and values”. Cultivation theory examines the long-term effects of television. “The primary proposition of cultivation theory states that the more time people spend ‘living’ in the television world, the more likely they are to believe social reality aligns with reality portrayed on television” (Riddle, 2009).
According to West & Turner (2010) cultivation theory is positivistic, meaning it assumes the existence of objective reality and value-neutral research. A study conducted by Jennings Bryant and Dorina Miron (2004), found that Cultivation Theory was the third-most frequently utilized theory, showing that it continues to be one of the most popular theories in mass communication research. (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan & Signorielli, 1986) “Television is a medium of the socialization of most people into standardized roles and behaviors. Its function is in a word, enculturation”.
(Joshi, 2006) “Cultivation theory (sometimes referred to as the cultivation hypothesis or cultivation analysis) was an approach developed by Professor George Gerbner, dean of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. He began the ‘Cultural Indicators’ research project in the mid-1960s, to study whether and how watching television may influence viewers’ ideas of what the everyday world is like”. (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan & Signorielli, 1986) “In 1976, cultivation theory derived from several large-scale research projects in a comprehensive project entitled Cultural Indicators. The Cultural Indicators Project began as a stand-alone study commissioned by Lyndon B. Johnson for the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence”. (Shrum, 2017) ‘The cultural indicators project consisted of three components: an institutional process analysis that focused on how media messages are produced and disseminated, a message system analysis that focused on what actual messages were conveyed by the media, and a cultivation analysis that focused on how exposure to media messages influences recipients’ conceptions of the real world”. (Potter, 2017) “The Cultivation literature appears to exhibit three different conceptions of the term. One conception is that cultivation is a mass media theory that was introduced by Gerbner and maintained by him throughout the course of his life. A second conception arises from the pattern of operational practices used by researchers who have published what they presented as tests of various parts of Gerbner’s system of explanation. And a third conception is exhibited by researchers who operate within a general socialization perspective and who largely ignore the conceptualizations of Gerbner as they explore a variety of ways that media exert their influence on individuals”. (Morgan, Shanahan & Signorielli, 2017) “Briefly, cultural indicators research was designed to systematically examine mass media as indicators of what was happening in the cultural realm, to parallel the data provided by economic and social indicators. Television content was the most oft-measured indicator within this research, with much of the early data collection focused on violence, sex roles, and the demography of network television”.
According to Mosharafa (2015) the “theory proposes that the danger of television lies in its ability to shape not a particular view point about one specific issue but in its ability to shape people’s moral values and general beliefs about the world. The theory stands on a number of concepts: the symbolic environment, storytelling, the symbolic function of television, the television traits, the cultural model, and the cultivation of value system, the multidirectional process, and the cultural indicators”.
(Gerbner, Gross & Signorielli, 1978). “Cultivation theory holds three core assumptions. The first assumption highlights the medium, the second, the audience, and the final assumption deals with the function of the medium on audiences and their ability to react to it. a) Television is fundamentally different from other forms of mass media” b) (Wikipedia) “Television shapes the way individuals within society think and relate to each other. c) Television’s effects are limited” Cultivation theorists argue that television has long-term effects which are small, gradual, indirect but cumulative and significant.
(Chandler, 1995) “Theorists emphasize the effects of television viewing on the attitudes rather than the behavior of viewers. Heavy watching of television is seen as ‘cultivating’ attitudes which are more consistent with the world of television programs than with the everyday world”. This study has used Cultivation Theory by George Gerbner as a guide in exploring the consequences or effects of Disney movies on adolescent girls.
Social Learning Theory
According to bandura (1963) “It states that learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation or direct instruction, even in the absence of motor reproduction or direct reinforcement.” Bandura (1971) explained “Social learning theory as a theory of learning and social behavior which proposes that new behaviors can be acquired by observing and imitating others.” Renzetti et. al, (2012) say that “In addition to the observation of behavior, learning also occurs through the observation of rewards and punishments, a process known as vicarious reinforcement. When a particular behavior is rewarded regularly, it will most likely persist; conversely, if a particular behavior is constantly punished, it will most likely desist.” According to Muro & Jeffrey (2008) “Social learning theory is increasingly cited as an essential component of sustainable natural resource management and the promotion of desirable behavioural change.” (Bandura, 1977) “People learn through observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors.” Bandura’s Social Learning Theory posits that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation, and modeling. The theory has often been called a bridge between behaviorist and cognitive learning theories because it encompasses attention, memory, and motivation. Moreover Bandura explains that “Most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others, one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action.”
Further Bandura (1977) explained that “this theory is based on the idea that we learn from our interactions with others in a social context. Separately, by observing the behaviors of others, people develop similar behaviors. After observing the behavior of others, people assimilate and imitate that behavior, especially if their observational experiences are positive ones or include rewards related to the observed behavior. According to Bandura, imitation involves the actual reproduction of observed motor activities.”
“The principles of social learning are assumed to operate in the same way throughout life. SLT posits that people learn from one another, via observation, imitation and modeling. Based on these general principles, learning can occur without a change in behavior” (Nabavi, 2012). According to Bandura (1965) “In other words, behaviorists say that learning has to be represented by a permanent change in behavior; while in contrast social learning theorists say that because people can learn through observation alone, their learning may not necessarily be shown in their performance.” Nabavi (2012) “Based on the literature, there are three concepts in SLT. Firstly, people can learn through observation which is known as observational learning. Secondly, mental states are important factor for learning it is also named as intrinsic reinforcement. Finally, it refers to this point that learning does not necessarily lead to a change in behavior and it follows by modeling process”
Bandura found “within the social learning theory lies three main concepts. First, as previously mentioned is the notion that individuals have the ability to learn through observation, second- that mental states are a fundamental part of this process and thirdly, the theory alleges that when something is learned this does not always follow by a change in behavior. As external, environmental reinforcement was not the only influence to learning and behavior, intrinsic reinforcement was also considered to play a part in forming the learned response of an individual. As it is perceived as a form of internal reward, such examples include pride, satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment. Observational learning considers that individuals are able to learn without demonstrating new behaviors.” According to Sincero (2011) there are 4 basic concepts of this theory that are as follows:
1. “Observational learning explains the nature of children to learn behaviors by watching the behavior of the people around them, and eventually, imitating them. With the “Bobo Doll” experiment(s), Bandura included an adult who is tasked to act aggressively toward a Bobo Doll while the children observe him. Later, Bandura let the children play inside a room with the Bobo Doll. He affirmed that these children imitated the aggressive behavior toward the doll, which they had observed earlier.
2. After his studies, Bandura was able to determine 3 basic models of observational learning, which include:
a. A Live Model, which includes an actual person performing a behavior.
b. A Verbal Instruction Model, which involves telling of details and descriptions of a behavior.
c. A Symbolic Model, which includes either a real or fictional character demonstrating the behavior via movies, books, television, radio, online media and other media sources.
3. The state of mind (mental states) is crucial to learning.In this concept, Bandura stated that not only external reinforcement or factors can affect learning and behavior. There is also what he called intrinsic reinforcement, which is in a form of internal reward or a better feeling after performing the behavior (e.g. sense of accomplishment, confidence, satisfaction, etc.)
4. Learning does not mean that there will be a change in the behavior of an individual.”
Specific factors influence the success of learning and it is the following steps that determine the observational learning and modeling process:
Attention: For behaviors to be successfully learned, the individual must pay sufficient attention.
Retention: Storing this information so that it may be used at a later date is crucial to the observational learning process.
Reproduction: Following attention and retention comes the time to reproduce the observed behavior. Practice of this behavior assists with the improvement of skills.
Motivation: The individual must be motivated to repeat the learned behavior. Reinforcement and punishment influence assist to influence this step as it acts to either encourage or deter the individual from having the motivation to repeat the modeled behavior.
According to Cherry (2017) “social learning can also be utilized to teach people positive behaviors. Researchers can use social learning theory to investigate and understand ways that positive role models can be used to encourage desirable behaviors and to facilitate social change.”
Bandura’s social learning theory has had important implication in the field of education. Today, both teachers and parents recognize how important it is to model appropriate behaviors. Other classroom strategies such as encouraging children and building self-efficacy are also rooted in social learning theory.