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Active Audience
Active Audience researchers
Active audience researchers ask What do people do with their media experiences?
These researchers criticise the behaviourist effects researchers for leaving the viewers out of the research.They accuse effects researchers of treating the viewer and user as 'sponges' that simply absorb media messages and content, including violent content.

Careful studies in which researchers observe and talking to television uncover compelling information about how we use the media in our lives. Viewers are not 'passive sponges' who just absorb the content and messages of television and other media. Audiences actively filter, react to, and interpret messages they see on TV. Individuals use the media in many different ways (even very young children).

The earlier Active audience approaches developed in the 1980s and were interested, like Behaviourist studies, in the causal relationships between content and behaviour - but in reverse. They claimed that media and TV content followed viewer taste rather than shaping it....

At the same time others argued that each individual's filtering and interpretation of content is so unique that it is impossible to make any generalization about the role of TV violence in anti-social or violent behaviour. These studies are now attacked by those who say that the researchers gave too much weight to viewers' abilities to make judgements about what they watched. They overvalue the freedom of choice that viewers in fact have. The very media they watch shape viewer responses. Viewers can only make choices from what is presented to them by TV companies.(Summary,p18).

Reception-analysis studies from the 1990s on suggest that the viewing of TV violence is complex and subjective. David Buckingham's 1997 British study with children demonstrated that children learn to distinguish between factual and fictional violence early in their lives, especially through talking to their peers and family members. They...