The behaviors that are depicted in media content can affect media users behaviors by priming certain behaviors or by teaching new behaviors.
For example, in a recent study reported by NPR, watching Realty TV shows that depict relational aggression was found to increase people’s aggressive behaviors toward others.
Just as behaviors can be promoted or taught in media content, some behaviors – such as opinion expression – can be silenced as well. The Pew Research Internet Project recently found that people are silence via social media by the perceived opinions of their peers. One particularly telling conclusion was that “previous ‘spiral of silence’ findings as to people’s willingness to speak up in various settings also apply to social media users.” So, it isn’t just corporate-produced media content that affects our behavior, it’s also user-generated content in the form of opinion expression via social networks.