Mass Communication and Human Behavior

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Acosta-Lewis
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1540
End: 1655
Field Work: Day 5 | Japan Download Syllabus

This course explores the roles of mass media in our lives. We will consider theories and empirical research on people’s uses of mass media and the consequences of such usage. We will consider differences between US media and media in the countries that we visit. We will cover a wide array of topics, including citizens’ learning from the news media, media portrayals of ethnicity and gender, media and politics, advertising and consumption, violence and pornography, thin-ideal media and disordered eating, fright reactions to scary media, and so on. We will read scientific studies on these and other topics and learn to evaluate such studies critically.

Field Work

Country: Japan
Day: 5

Students will be briefed about the day’s activities, expectations, and details about assignments on board where they will watch the documentary The Cove. Students will be asked to begin taking notes on the documentary, their experience, and the media implications of the documentary to help when writing their paper. Students will then take public transportation to the Kobe City Suma Marine Aquarium where they will meet up with local university students. At lunch students will talk about what they think about seeing the documentary, the media effects implications of the documentary (awareness, persuasion, etc.). After some free time at the aquarium, local students will be invited back to tour the ship and spend some more time with the students.
Academic Objectives:
  1. Learn about the media’s role in the dolphin issue in Japan
  2. Discuss the dolphin issue as a cultural tradition versus inhumane killing practice
  3. Learn about how media effects can promote awareness and change