David Gauntlett


Moving Experiences: Understanding Television's Influences and Effects
David Gauntlett
Published by John Libbey Media, 1995

Note that there is now a second edition of this book, published 2005.

From the back cover:
The possible effect of television on its viewers has been a source of controversy for decades, and the subject comes with a research mountain to match. Over the years, the flickering box has been blamed for every kind of social problem and antisocial act, and in many cases has been found guilty by an audacious but often surprisingly shaky range of studies. The hypothesis that television makes people mad, bad, or otherwise dangerous to know has been tested in multifarious ways; whilst other researchers have investigated whether television might actually do viewers some good.

Moving Experiences is a comprehensive overview and critique of this body of research. It clearly and energetically examines all of the major studies in the field, drawing firm conclusions not only on the notoriously vexed question of TV violence, but also about the impact of campaigns which are specifically intended to persuade. The prosocial content of educational and everyday programmes is also considered. Uniquely, the book rips the academic arguments and findings from the vacuum in which they are generally produced, and pitches them mercilessly against numerous examples of TV content, from Sesame Street to The Simpsons, Casualty to Cracker, and finds that there can be more to television than meets the eye.

See also the article Ten Things Wrong With the 'Effects Model'.


"Crushingly thorough and pitilessly well-researched, this study takes no prisoners as it systematically demolishes every faulty paradigm and poorly controlled experiment that has sought to prove the direct effects of television on behaviour. Well-publicised in the latest media debate on violence, it deserves to be read more rather than merely cited." -- Sight and Sound, November 1995.

"An authoritative and intelligent study of the 'effects' of television... This much needed voice of reason illustrates how scientific research can be not only misleading, but also politically biased." -- Critical Survey, Autumn 1996.

"An extraordinarily solid critical summary... Moving Experiences is an excellent book for all who want to get an overview of the state of contemporary media effects research. Gauntlett is well read, brilliant, and witty, the latter being something very rare in the discipline he works in." -- Ulf Dalquist, University of Lund, Sweden, Filmhaftet, Vol. 23: 1995.

"A fascinating book" -- Socialist Review, January 1996.

ISBN 0 86196 515 9

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