MCAT Content / Culture / Mass Media And Popular Culture

Mass Media and Popular Culture

Topic: Culture

Popular culture (the most widespread cultural patterns of a society) is transmitted via mass media (any means of delivering standardized messages to a broader audience).

A variety of methods and interactions with other people contribute to the socialization of a developing individual. Agents of socialization include people such as family, friends, and neighbors, social institutions such as religion or school; consumption of mass media; and environments that include interactions with other people such as sports teams and the workplace. Through these interactions, individuals learn what actions are acceptable by observing both the behaviors of others and the reactions of others to their behaviors.

Although many variations exist within a single culture, the most widespread cultural patterns of a society are known as popular culture. Popular culture describes the most widespread cultural patterns of a society (i.e. big-budget Hollywood movies and Top 40 radio songs in the United States).

Popular culture is transmitted via mass media (i.e. any means of delivering standardized messages to a larger audience). When mass media first emerged, only a few sources were able to reach large numbers of people. These sources of mass media had a huge influence on the culture of large groups. The advancement of technology has created many more outlets for mass media and, consequently, the spread of popular culture.

Practice Questions

 

Khan Academy

 

MCAT Official Prep (AAMC)

Section Bank P/S Section Passage 11 Question 87

Section Bank P/S Section Passage 11 Question 88


Key Points

• A variety of methods and interactions with other people contribute to the socialization of a developing individual, including agents of socialization like consumption of popular culture and mass media.

• Popular culture describes the most widespread cultural patterns of a society.

• Popular culture is transmitted via mass media (i.e. any means of delivering standardized messages to a broader audience).

• Mass media can have a significant influence on the culture of large groups.

• The advancement of technology has created many more outlets for mass media and, consequently, the spread of popular culture.


Key Terms

agents of socialization: comprised of groups and people who influence personal attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors

popular culture: designates the most widespread cultural patterns of a society

mass media: any means of delivering standardized messages to a broad audience

culture: can be thought of as all the beliefs, assumptions, objects, behaviors, and processes that make up a shared way of life



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