Media Equation Essay

1040 Words 5 Pages
The media equation is a theory developed by two professors of communication, Byron Reeves and Clifford Nass, at Stanford University. The theory is simple. They state that people treat the media as if they were real, hence the equation: media = real life.
Basically Reeves and Nass are saying that people on an unconscious level perceive the media as real. People view objects of the media are talking to them personally. Reeves and Nass view things such as computers, televisions, radios, and other media’s as inanimate objects. They don’t believe that these objects are about to get up and move as if they were alive, but that the objects that relay the media are reacted to as though they were alive.
     “Reeves and
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“Parasocial interaction occurs when individuals interact with a mediated representation of a person as if the person were actually present. Parasocial interaction is unmediated and directly social.” (Nass and Sundar, page 114-115) The experiment took two groups of students and set them up with either a computer labeled “computer” or “programmer”. The ones that had a “programmer” computer were told to think of the programmer when working with it. They went through a series of exercises where in round one they were praised. In round two they were told what they did was wrong.
     In the first round they found that the computer was friendlier in the computer condition than people in the programmer condition. In the second round they came to the same result. The computer group found the computer to be more productive than the programmer group. “The results provide highly consistent evidence for the social model as compared to the parasocial model, given that nine of the ten indices are significantly different between the two conditions.” (Nass and Sundar, page 125)
     These two studies show that people do perceive media as human. They don’t

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