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Environmental Concern, Patterns of Television Viewing, and Pro-Environmental Behaviors
Unformatted Document Text:  TV-Environment 16 routines. The same can be said for the influence of the viewing of nature documentaries, programs that often provide a discussion of our responsibilities as stewards of the environment. However, it is also important to recognize that although the effects of these two forms of factual-based television use have similar direct effects on pro-environmental behaviors, content-based studies of these two genres reveal that the messages being sent about the environment are quite different across these venues. When public affairs television presents environmental issues these stories are most often about environmental disasters that are relative anomalies. Perhaps the influence of public affairs television use on pro-environmental behaviors stems in some measure from an affective element of fear that we all need to do better in terms of being environmentally conscious, not a purely cognitive information-transmission effect. Nature programming may also retain an affective influence on viewers, but it is most likely that the valance of this affect runs counter to that produced by public affairs television use. Nature documentaries do present a very positive message about the environment and that every effort put forward by responsible citizens aids in keeping our world a little cleaner. It is not surprising that fiction-based forms of television use did not have a direct effect on the criterion variable given that McComas et al. (2001) found that a large percentage of this programming does not raise environmental issues. In addition, when environmental issues are raised by prime-time entertainment television a neutral stand is taken or complete apathy toward the environment appears to be the message being communicated to viewers. These distinct patterns of effects underscore our argument that it is important to focus on different types of television use in studies of this kind. We found a distinction not only between factual- and fictional-based television use, but also argue that the similar effects that stem from the two forms of factual-based television use most likely originate from different messages being sent to viewers. These are important distinctions, and differences that can only be assessed by studying different types of television use simultaneously. Cultivation studies provide mass communication scholarship with a certain type of understanding of the relationship between television viewing and how individuals come to understand the world and their place within that world. However, studies of multiple forms of television viewing can provide additional insights that can enhance or compliment these works. Our research recognizes that individuals consume media to address a range of motives and that these motives may shape patterns of media consumption. Combining this perspective with previous insights offered via a cultivation approach to television yields a model that bridges theories of media consumption and effects. We believe this approach is consistent with existing O-S-O-R models in political communication that weave together an elaborate assortment of

Authors: Holbert, R. Lance., Kwak, Nojin. and Shah, Dhavan.
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TV-Environment 16
routines. The same can be said for the influence of the viewing of nature documentaries, programs that often
provide a discussion of our responsibilities as stewards of the environment.
However, it is also important to recognize that although the effects of these two forms of factual-based
television use have similar direct effects on pro-environmental behaviors, content-based studies of these two genres
reveal that the messages being sent about the environment are quite different across these venues. When public
affairs television presents environmental issues these stories are most often about environmental disasters that are
relative anomalies. Perhaps the influence of public affairs television use on pro-environmental behaviors stems in
some measure from an affective element of fear that we all need to do better in terms of being environmentally
conscious, not a purely cognitive information-transmission effect. Nature programming may also retain an affective
influence on viewers, but it is most likely that the valance of this affect runs counter to that produced by public
affairs television use. Nature documentaries do present a very positive message about the environment and that
every effort put forward by responsible citizens aids in keeping our world a little cleaner. It is not surprising that
fiction-based forms of television use did not have a direct effect on the criterion variable given that McComas et al.
(2001) found that a large percentage of this programming does not raise environmental issues. In addition, when
environmental issues are raised by prime-time entertainment television a neutral stand is taken or complete apathy
toward the environment appears to be the message being communicated to viewers.
These distinct patterns of effects underscore our argument that it is important to focus on different types of
television use in studies of this kind. We found a distinction not only between factual- and fictional-based television
use, but also argue that the similar effects that stem from the two forms of factual-based television use most likely
originate from different messages being sent to viewers. These are important distinctions, and differences that can
only be assessed by studying different types of television use simultaneously. Cultivation studies provide mass
communication scholarship with a certain type of understanding of the relationship between television viewing and
how individuals come to understand the world and their place within that world. However, studies of multiple forms
of television viewing can provide additional insights that can enhance or compliment these works. Our research
recognizes that individuals consume media to address a range of motives and that these motives may shape patterns
of media consumption. Combining this perspective with previous insights offered via a cultivation approach to
television yields a model that bridges theories of media consumption and effects. We believe this approach is
consistent with existing O-S-O-R models in political communication that weave together an elaborate assortment of


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