The four levels of effect media content can have on the general public are message effects, medium effects, ownership effects, and active audience effects.
message effects are how people are affected by the content of messages. This effect is broken down into four different subsections of effects. First are cognitive effects, which is short-term learning of the information given. Next is attitudinal effects, which are changing people’s attitude towards a person, product, or idea.
Behavioral effects are inducing people to adopt new behaviors or changing existing behaviors. Lastly, psychological effects are inducing strong feelings or arousal in an audience member. The next media effect is medium effects. This looks at how the medium used changes the nature of the message and how the receiver responds to the message. The third media effect is ownership effect and this is when you look at how the ownership of the source you are receiving a message from affects the message. The final effect is Active Audience effect. This effect looks at the variety of reasons audience members seek out and respond to the media.
Inside Out is an animated film produced by Disney’s Pixar studios released in June 2015. In the movie, the emotions inside a girl’s head are brought to life. Riley is an eleven-year-old girl who is faced with one of the hardest things in life, moving, across the country from Minnesota to San Francisco. The emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear have to help her deal with everything going on around her. Joy is the leader of the emotions but when the stress of moving takes a huge toll on Riley’s emotions, sadness gets brought to the lead. In the emotions headquarters, memories are kept and stored depending on whether it is a core memory or just a short-term memory that will eventually be thrown out. Each of the memories is organized by color depending on what emotion it corresponds too. Core memories are gold and light up but can quickly be changed if one of the emotions that aren’t Joy touches them.
Sadness starts to lose control of her actions in the headquarters and knocks all of the core memories out into the vast of Riley’s mind. Joy and Sadness get thrown from the headquarters of Riley’s mind and have to venture together to collect Riley’s core memories and get them back to their rightful place. Pixar Animation Studios is a motion picture studio that has been working with the Disney company for over twenty years. Pixar was instrumental to the development and production of computer animated films. Pixar has consistently had worldwide commercial success for visual innovation and intelligent, emotional storytelling. Pixar is responsible for not only Inside Out, but also the Toy Story series, Monster Inc. series, a Bugs Life, Cars, Finding Nemo, Up, and many more animated movies.
One of the biggest commercial impacts Pixar has had is its impact on animation. Since the release of the first fully animated movie Toy Story in 1995, there have been over 250 computer animated films released worldwide. One concern people had with Inside Out was how the movie portrayed the emotion Sadness.
In a New York Times article about the science of Inside Out, the writer critiqued the character saying sadness was seen as a drag, “a sluggish character that Joy literally had to drag around through Riley’s mind.” (Keltner) Studies have shown that sadness is actually associated with elevated physiological arousal. This means sadness activates the body to respond to loss.
The emotion Sadness in the movie is frumpy and off-putting but in real life, sadness is what pulls other people into comfort and help. One of the positive effects that Inside out has is with message effects, specifically behavioral. The movie teaches the audience to embrace sadness, to approach sadness in a new way. “Sadness will clarify what has been lost (childhood) and move the family toward what is to be gained: the foundations of new identities, for children and parents alike.” (Keltner) This movie is a powerhouse for teaching a younger audience that feeling a different kind of emotions is okay and that life isn’t always going to be rays of sunshine and joy. Rather than to feel isolated by your own emotions, understand that it is okay to express those emotions and that it’s also a natural feeling.
One negative effect that comes along with embracing sadness is that the movie doesn’t touch on some of the other feelings like anger or fear at all. A lot of people suffer from not knowing how to express or control their anger just as much as they don’t know how to express sadness. If Inside Out would have focused on all of the other emotions, not just joy and sadness, the impact could have been much stronger. Another positive effect from Inside Out has connects with the medium effect. If this same storyline was published as a short story in a newspaper article or talked about on a radio broadcast, the lasting effect of the message would have been completely different. Over the years Pixar Animation films have had a miraculous impression on audience members of all ages. Having such a strong medium platform allowed Inside Out to be recognized globally and effect audience members all over the world. Most children born this day and age grow up watching Pixar films which teach you many great lessons but I believe Inside Outs appreciation of showing different emotions is one of the most impacting lessons a movie could have.
Using a realistic event such as moving across the country at such a critical age, allowed for the message to be more relatable to the audience. Lots of people move while growing up and it can take a major toll on a someone’s social and emotional development. Having a movie such as Inside Out allows for a positive impact to be made in such a simple form that everyone can enjoy. One negative that can also be found was that Inside Out is seen as a children’s movie. If the movie was advertised a broader age group it could be more impacting.
An older audience would understand and gather more meaning out of the message being portrayed from Inside Out. If the movie had more things that are relatable to an older generation it could make the impact of the message more significant. As a media consumer, you have to consider that this is just one person’s way of struggling with their emotions. There are many different things that could be contributing to someone you know or even yourself when it comes to talking about dealing with emotions. Fixing sadness isn’t as easy as the movie makes it out to be. It takes years of learning about yourself and how to express yourself to other people.
Inside Out is an amazing movie because even though the main character Riley is only eleven, she is experiencing and dealing with life situations that people of all ages can learn from.