George Gerbner’s cultivation theory claims that people who consume heavy amounts of media are more likely to be influenced by those messages to believe the media reality as opposed to actual reality. Using cultivation theory as the basis for study, I performed a cultivation analysis examining the intersection of mass media and perceptions of success among college-aged young adults living in the United States. The analysis focused on three main points: (1) How mass media perceives and subsequently demonstrates success. (2) The impact of mass media on young adults living in America. (3) What reality of success is cultivated by these young adults. The top five most-watched music videos from the past five years were analyzed for perceptions of success. Seventy-nine students from Bryant University were surveyed. A message analysis of the music videos revealed that wealth as well as conformity to certain standards of physical perfection and gender-specific behaviors were key elements of success. This study found that college-aged young adults who are heavier consumers of music videos tended to share the perceptions of success as perpetuated by the media over those who are light viewers. However, there were certain elements of success where the intersection of college-aged young adults’ perceptions of success and media were more nuanced and complicated.
Recommended CitationBevillard, Anastasia, "Chasing Success: A Cultivated Reality" (2018). Honors Projects in Communication. Paper 22.