Passivity and superficiality of information perception as features of simplification process. The features of oversimplification are found not only in the drop in the quality of information broadcast by our media - the worst changes and the characteristics of the audience to which this information is broadcast.
There is a common opinion, often repeated by workers in the media industry, that the media, they say, only adjust to the consumer. "It's the consumer's primitive tastes, he's lazy and stupid, and we just have to adapt to him and submit information in a form convenient for him," they say.
This is a grave error.
Marketers, producers of media products, carefully study the research of psychologists about the peculiarities of human perception of information. They are looking for the possibility of the most effective transmission of data to the viewer, studying ways to break his resistance (yes, that's right!), To increase the level of influence on the viewer and to reduce the level of his criticality in relation to the broadcast information. I must say that in this the producers of media products have greatly succeeded.
All higher mental functions became the object of their attention: memory, thinking, speech, perception. Great importance is attached to the study of the influence of information on the unconscious person. Producers of mediaproduction would very much like to "deliver information" to the consumer, bypassing his consciousness.
In the process of perceiving information, they are also very interested in such a function as attention. I would like to discuss it in this article. There are involuntary and voluntary attention. Involuntary attention has an organic nature, it is natural and present even in infants. The child turns his head at an unusual noise, reaches for a bright toy - so he turns his involuntary attention to these objects. Arbitrary attention is a product of education. The ability to deliberately concentrate and hold attention to information means that a person gains power over it, independently disposes of it.
Such independence of the consumer is completely unprofitable for marketers and producers of media products, the purpose of which is the ability to influence the audience in a mask. Therefore, voluntary attention has become the object of serious research.
In the sixties of the twentieth century, psychologists Leon Festinger and Nathan Makobi made a curious experiment: members of the student community listened to the speech of the lecturer who sharply criticized them. In one group, students listened to the speaker with full attention and often objected to him. In the second group, in parallel with the speech of the speaker, a silent feature film was broadcast on the screen, which has nothing to do with the topic of discussion. According to the experimenters, in the second group the speaker managed to significantly influence the audience. "Probably, it happened because an entertaining film distracted students from trying to refute convincing arguments," they write. It turned out that it is more difficult to influence the audience when broadcasting any information, if it perceives this information with full attention. If you introduce a distraction factor into the information transfer process, the level of criticality to perceived information decreases. These conclusions were adopted by modern advertisers and marketers. They began to fill their promotional products with a dosed amount of distracting information - music, eroticism, inessential details.
Another way to attack the ability to concentrate is to make the flow of information extremely dynamic, rapidly changing. Human perception is arranged in such a way that attention is involuntarily focused on changes in the environment, and not on what remains unchanged. This feature of perception, the tendency of a person to switch attention at any second to another object, actively exploits modern television. And if before the sharp change of images and the frenzied dynamics of the scenes the advertising videos differed, now more and more feature films are being shot in the same clip-on manner of information delivery. Arbitrary concentration of attention, in contrast to involuntary, has an important characteristic: it is a volitional active action. When watching video products, will and activity is reduced to nothing, because the attention of a person is endlessly switched and led to the right side by those who created this product. It should be emphasized that children's cartoons are extremely high rate of information transfer. The ability to stop the flow of data, to comprehend it with some degree of depth in the viewer, as a rule, no. More and more he gets used to passive behavior in the process of perceiving information.
Not only video, but also textual information is increasingly built in a form that does not allow long to concentrate on it. So the texts of electronic media (especially news agencies) are getting shorter, they are often flooded with links and bright advertising inserts, distracting attention and suggest switching to another object. The well-known Russian psychologist Rada Granovskaya, who was formed in such conditions, calls the model of mental functioning a clip-like thinking. " In her opinion, clip-on thinking is beginning to be formed from an early age. "Schools play a big role in clip-on thinking. Children are forced to read books. But in fact the school is built in such a way that textbooks are not books. Students read one piece, then a week later - another, and at that time still a piece from the other ten textbooks, "she writes.
On the perception of information in the form of a rapidly flowing current, the brain spends much less energy. A person gets used to such a model of existence in the information space and to switch to another one becomes more difficult, even if once he was able to successfully cope with tasks that require a long and deep concentration of attention. And most importantly, they are in every way prevented from doing this, because his consciousness is constantly bombarded with new pieces of information and he has to switch to pay attention to it. As for children, they themselves gradually take away the very opportunity to learn how to concentrate for a long time, since all information, from entertainment to training, is increasingly based on the principles of constant attention shifting.
Scientists argue that modern young people perceive a much larger amount of information than representatives of the generation that was formed before the era of rapid development of television and radio broadcasting. It is also said that the speed of perception of information has greatly increased. At the same time, and the fact that increasing the volume and speed of information perception can negatively influence the thinking processes, Western researchers, often engaged in large media corporations, prefer not to advertise.
Manufacturers of media products and marketers know perfectly well that the speed of perception is inversely proportional to the criticality of a person in relation to the information being broadcast. But marketers need an ideal consumer - a passive, weak-willed and superficial creature, completely devoid of the ability to critically perceive information and solve complex problems. And he has a very effective and very dangerous tool for this.
The main factor of the negative impact of modern media on a person is that they form not only his views and cultural baggage. All this can be changed using persuasion and training. Modern media have the ability to destroy the very ability to perceive and process information, to simplify models of the functioning of the human psyche, to suppress or not give shape to its strong-willed qualities. To change these characteristics is much more difficult than to convince a person. And an order of magnitude more difficult to do this if a person is "brought up" by the media from early childhood. And most importantly, the answer to the very important question of who and how this will be done is completely unknown.