The Instigator
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Mass Media plays a greater role than the people around you in the development of your personality

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/8/2014 Category: TV
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,961 times Debate No: 43579
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)




Origins of this debate started in the comment section of

Mass Media-Plural
Mass Medium: a medium of communication (as newspapers, radio, video games, internet, or television) that is designed to reach the mass of the people —usually used in plural.

Round 1 is for Acceptance, Definitions, and Conditions
Round 2 is for imperial evidence
Rounds 3 & 4 are for Refutation, Rebuttals, and New Argument.
Round 5 is for Conclusion.

This will be a fair debate based on the evidence provided by the debaters and evidence of misconduct or situational provisions will be taken seriously. Each side assumes BOP and it is assumed that the influencing factor being argued for has full control or equal control of its subject in favor of the Debater whose argument is being presented.

Examples: CON says that a parent or friend playing video games with the subject is personal influence.--UNFAIR.
Pro says that a parent is never there and the subject partakes in Media for 40 hours a week.--UNFAIR.

Voters should decide Convincing Arguments based solely on the most adequate proof of influence over the subjects personality development.

The subject will be referred to as child, user, friend, gamer, listener, or some other term as identified by the debaters.

Brepar, if you have any disagreements or additions to these statements, let us work them out in the comment section before starting the debate so that final confirmations of conditions may be presented to the voters in your opening round.


I agree with the terms and look forward to a challenging debate.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you brepar for this debate idea, I look forward to the challenge.

The mass media is everywhere. It’s in your living room, your bedroom, your car, on the side of the road while you’re driving down the street and even in your bathroom. There is just no getting away from it. It tells you what to buy, when to buy, and how to use it, but most importantly it’s getting inside your head and changing the way you think about the world around you.

Unfortunately, some people are so drawn to it, that they never seem to want to break free from it even for the smallest moment. People know the type of person that I am talking about. If they aren’t on their phone in public, they’re listening to their radio in the car, or typing away in their favorite chat room.

But what is going on and why is this happening? Isn’t the real world better than looking at memes? Memes are like… well everyone has one. Can’t you just talk to the person next to you without Justin Biever playing in the background? It doesn’t seem as though you can. Your friends are all leaving you and you have nothing left except the mass media that loves you and tells you how wonderful you are even when you’re sleeping.

The mass media is influencing people over and over to do one thing- Participate in more mass media and they are doing it by bypassing the critical faculty. That’s right my friends they are hypnotizing you and telling you the things they want you to know, think, and feel when you go out and experience real life. I want to present to you an article about television

Scroll down or push “control F” and look at the comment made by Mark Tyrrell. “If [television is not hypnotizing people] then advertisers are wasting their money.”

This next article claims that hypnosis is very similar to the feeling you get when you have really gotten into a book or television show. I’d like to add that video games are able to give people the same euphoric experience.

Hypnosis is such a powerful suggestion tool that even President Obama is using it. Although, I know that some of you may not have the time to read this short book, it proves that even Obama has more power over your life than your friends do, because your friends are not purposely using the techniques needed to bypass the critical factor and turn you into drone.'s_Use_of_Hidden_Hypnosis_techniques_in_His_Speeches.pdf

Don’t think Obama is the only one. Every single mass medium is using it. It could be the all too common, “Like this video and subscribe,” or the classic “tune in next week for another exciting episode.” Demands are being made and we are sheepishly complying as though it were our own idea in the first place.

Let’s figure out what this critical factor is, or critical faculty, since it’s called either depending on who you talk to. And let’s figure out why bypassing it is so important to influencing your neighbors and children. Almost every single link to bypassing the critical factor is linked to hypnosis. When a person is hypnotized, the messages are delivered straight to the subconscious and reasonable doubt is nearly impossible. Because I think the short book about Obama provides adequate information to understand the process and the techniques of this process, I provide this video giving details about the critical factor works.

I would also like anyone who is willing to read this short article because it has powerful information.

So, just sit back, relax and vote for pro.



here you have offered a lot of evidence for the ability of mass media to cause hypnosis but very little evidence that it causes a significant change in the psychology of the people that are subject to the mass media.

in fact this article that you cited:
could be taken to say quite the opposite, if hypnosis can be considered as the lens of a camera then all that it truly achieves is to focus your mind onto something.
FAQ 2 states that it is impossible to hypnotise someone against their will
FAQ 3 states that whilst under hypnosis you will still possess the ability to follow what you are doing and to intervene therefore the hypnosis does not escape the influence of conscious mind and you can control whether or not you act on the suggestion.

New argument

i doubt however that you can find much evidence to refute this work by the ersc.

giving quotes such as:
--->A supportive home learning environment is positively associated with children"s early achievements and well being and influences social mobility.
--->Fathers" involvement is associated with a range of positive outcomes for children including educational and emotional attainment, and protects against later mental health problems.
Debate Round No. 2



(1) Willingness to accept suggestions
I would like to agree that a person cannot be hypnotized against their will. As most medias are inanimate, it is impossible for those forms of media to influence a subject against their will. The subject must be willing to turn on the TV, sit down, relax, and listen to the suggestions that are coming from the medium in order to be influenced. Just the act of turning on the media implies a surprisingly large amount of agreement.

(2) The contradictions claimed in the link you provided

Dr. Bruce Elmer's Hypnosis center seems to be trying to make a distinct difference between entertainment hypnosis and therapeutic hypnosis. He often refers to Svengali type hypnotism a lot. And even makes the suggestion that people would naturally act like chicken or pretend they are stuck to certain object on their own free will. In FAQ 6, he says that a person will be awake during the hypnosis, but in FAQ 7 he claims that a suggesting will be used in order to bring a person back into the waking world. How can this be? Either I'm not awake and I need to wake up, or I am awake. In FAQ 11, he claims that " His analyzing thinking mind (Conscious mind) is turned off and his feeling and intuitive and creative mind (Subconscious) is aware of everything that is going on. " The Conscious mind is turned off. Why does the conscious mind need to be turned off?

If the subject is fully awake, has full control over all of their actions, and is not susceptible to any suggestions outside of their own will, why even hypnotize them in the first place. Let's just tell them what they want to hear, or rather they should tell themselves what they want to hear and the problem will be solved. Dr. Bruce does make one point that I agree with. People age 12-20 are more susceptible to hypnotism. Why that age?
According to this article from successful parenting, the ability to think abstractly is present at age 12 and individuals are developing their ability to think abstractly
Arguments against Interpersonal influence.

(1) The Generation Gap.
I was actually going to use this as part of my argument to prove that parents don't have that much influence on the next generation as we like to give them credit for, but then I found out that "generation gap" was a phrase made up in the 60's by the media to separate a more susceptible generation from their older counterparts. It actually proves my point more, now that I know it was a media suggestion that nearly everyone believes in. I would also like to claim that it is unnatural and therefore superior to the influence of parents. The Amish people have been living for a long time without television, and their children grow up and are Amish. Without television influence, there is a better chance that children will grow up to be like their parents.

This fact that generation gap was a media invention show that parental influence is the second most powerful influence, and not the first.

(2) The age of Rebellion

According to this article concerning the age of the rebellion, the most common ages are 9-23. That completely encompass the ages mentioned as the best time to use hypnosis on an individual. I could show other examples also but I find this particular one to particularly diminutive of the parental role "Just because they won't heed what parents say and want at the moment doesn't mean that reference is not worth giving. Since rebellion is often reinforced by messages from peers, parents should keep getting their message in there." It suggests that children won't heed what parents say, and that rebellion is reinforced by peers. This suggests that even peers are more influential the parents. And now parents are at number 3 on the most influential list.

(3) Peer Influence.

The following article make a highly suggestive claim. "all of these [suggestions] are more effective with children in middle school than in high school, and none are guaranteed to be effective. No amount of parental influence is capable of overriding certain types of peer influence.

(4) Self- Perception

I just want to finalize this round with the idea that self perception is the most influencing factor in person's behavior. I was going to provide further links, but I already provided and far more than adequate video concerning how it is nearly impossible to change a person's perception of themselves without bypassing the critical factor. Peer influence is selective. Meaning that a person has the conscious ability to choose which groups he hangs out with and when based on his own self perception. As presented by all of the hypnosis articles it is possible to change a person's self perception during hypnosis. Thus changing a person's self concept and thus having the highest form of influence over behaviours.


Rebuttals for hypnosis arguments

1) That as it may be a person will very rarely watch a show that they are not interested in, especially with the tons of different channels and therefore choice afforded to them by the wide range of media. they will be happy to turn on the tv, sit down and relax however why would they take suggestions that they don't agree with when they have the choice of just changing the channel.

therefore it implies an agreement to take suggestions, but only those which a person is already comfortable with.

"makes the suggestion that people would naturally act like chicken or pretend they are stuck to certain object on their own free will"
- I believe this suggestion to be incorrect on your behalf, he says that "volunteers during Stage Hypnosis Show, which is for entertainment purposes only, will typically go along with the Stage Hypnotist"s suggestions as long as it is all in good fun and for entertainment purposes."
this does not show that the person is exhibiting normal behaviour, but that they are willing to exhibit abnormal behaviour for the entertainment of themselves and others.

"In FAQ 6, he says that a person will be awake during the hypnosis, [...] I need to wake up, or I am awake."
-Actually in FAQ 7 he gives the example of falling asleep as a possibility due to the patient being extremely relaxed, being relaxed however is not necessary, it only makes it much easier for the hypnosis to occur. Therefore falling asleep can not be considered directly the result of being hypnotised.
he actually states in FAQ 7 "When you are hypnotized, you retain full control over your mind and your body." for this to be possible you must be awake.

"FAQ 11, he claims that " His analyzing thinking mind (Conscious mind) is turned off [...] Why does the conscious mind need to be turned off? "
- which he also refers to as "in a state of daydream type thinking", however you are more than capable of controlling a daydream so this would imply that the conscious mind does not need to be active to think about the events around you and react to them, i.e. think about what medium is telling you and disagree with it.

"If the subject is fully awake, has full control over all of their actions, and is not susceptible to any suggestions outside of their own will, why even hypnotize them in the first place."
- to rebut this I would like to use one of your own sources ( which states that the effect of hypnosis is to focus the mind, by focusing on a problem you can work towards solving it much faster. it's the equivalent of concentrating during a debate, when the argument is difficult to rebut, look at it piece by piece and the counter argument will practically fall into place. focusing on a problem you want to fix in your life through hypnosis helps you to find all of the areas that you need to fix to bypass a much larger problem.

"According to this article from successful parenting, the ability to think abstractly is present at age 12 and individuals are developing their ability to think abstractly"
-I completely agree, and the ability to think abstractly would increase your ability to understand something, also focus without the ability to dissect a problem is almost completely useless for solving it. Therefore it makes perfect sense that the effects of hypnosis would be more successful when you have reached the age where you can think like this. in addition younger children are often extremely hyped, since an exited patient is harder to hypnotise than a relaxed one it would be much harder to maintain a hypnotic state with somebody under 12.

Rebuttals for interpersonal relationship arguments

1) The very foundations of your moral standing would actually be set by your parents at ages under 5-6, where you spend much of your time attempting to copy them (In some extreme cases the foundations are completely replaced later on but this debate is on the "normal" childhood experience) in most cases this affects how the effects of your generation will influence your personality. in fact, since most people of a generation will be building off of the same foundations that their parents gave them the effect of a generation gap wouldn't be that different.

"It actually proves my point more, now that I know it was a media suggestion that nearly everyone believes in." it was a hypothesis which was accepted to be correct. Where it came from does not affect whether or not a community will accept it in the modern world, only whether there is sufficient evidence to prevent effective counter proposals.

2) apologies for breaking this argument down to such a small rebuttal but I believe that the wording in this statement "This suggests that even peers are more influential the parents" would make it seem that the effect of peers, for which I am also arguing, is somehow a small effect; that the effects of parenting should so small as to be less than that of peers. however I argue that whilst the effect of peers is greater than that of the parents in many cases, it is also much stronger than that of mass media.

3) as above, you argue that one of the sides I argue for is greater than the other, not that either is less than mass media.

4) "Peer influence is selective. Meaning that a person has the conscious ability to choose which groups he hangs out with"
-true, but as I stated in [Rebuttals for hypnosis arguments, 1] they are just as selective about what they watch and read, etc. so therefore the effect of mass media would be affected to the same degree.

Further Arguments

I would like to take [Rebuttals for interpersonal relationship arguments, 4] further and say that the variety of mass media that someone watches is, to a large part, dictated by the sort of people that they hang out with. where someone may be forced into "growing out of" their favorite movie, it is unlikely that a peer disliking the same person's favorite movie will result in them breaking off the friendship.
to further this I would like to point out that the sort of people that the child will find themselves hanging out with will be dictated by their upbringing, even if it isn't in the way that the parents expected.
Debate Round No. 3


Rebuttals for hypnosis arguments
(1) agreed
(2) people are willing to exhibit abnormal behavior while under hypnosis.
your argument against this only states that it is true. The causation is irrelevant, when we both agree that the outcome is the same. May it be for entertainment purposes, or for a person to change their daily habits. The underlying theme of hypnosis is that you will believe your self able to do things that are not within your capabilities or your reasoning to do. Whether hypnosis makes you act like a chicken, or helps you to stop smoking, it is irrelevant. There is the underlying critical faculty that causes you to reason your way out of performing in either manner. If you aren't afraid that people will laugh at you, or you are able to refute the idea that you like your current behavior, you can change your behavior. According to the previously mentioned youthradio article, you can actually do this on yourself and change your natural personality into something that is otherwise unnatural, and vice versa.

Rebuttals for interpersonal relationship arguments

1) The very foundations of your moral standing would actually be set by your parents at ages under 5-6, where you spend much of your time attempting to copy them (In some extreme cases the foundations are completely replaced later on but this debate is on the "normal" childhood experience) in most cases this affects how the effects of your generation will influence your personality. in fact, since most people of a generation will be building off of the same foundations that their parents gave them the effect of a generation gap wouldn't be that different.

I agree that the foundations are set for your moral standing around the age of 5-6. (I actually believe it is between ages 2, when a child first has the ability to say 'no', and about 9, or the time when children begin to identify more with their own peer groups than they do with their family.) And I also agree that if children were to suddenly become adults at this age, the generation gap wouldn't be that different.

(2) I don't want this argument to get lost in debate. I think it is the critical point of contention.-
Peer relationships outweigh parental relationships. However, self concepts outweigh those of peers. Where are the self concept coming from? All around, both from the people you are hanging around with and the media that you subject yourself to. Mass media has the greater power because, as we both agreed with earlier, media is self subjected. A subject decides for themselves what media they will partake in and engage in that media while they are partaking in that media.

Let's say that a student takes a college class, having never known the material beforehand. The student focuses his attention on the professor and takes the information as part of his own belief system and knowledge. The extent to which the student engages themselves will predict the outcome of the knowledge retained, the medium that it is presented from will not. The amount of attention needed to receive the information from the professor is the same amount of attention used when watching television, or listening to the radio. A person who is more engaged will be more affected by the subject matter than a person who is not as engaged regardless of the medium. Mass media play a higher role in developing your personality because it requires the higher level of engagement of the individual.

Further Argument.
Any thing that I have not previously rebutted directly is included in this section.

I am not the first person to understand the effects of outside influences on a person's development of their personality. I also do not deny that a person's peer group, parents, or any other people around you have an affect on the development of your personality. I only assert that Mass Media has a greater affect. A considerable amount of knowledge can be gained from the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza. In this article, reading is specifically named. The concepts apply much further than just reading. They apply to every aspect of the knowledge and experiences we have as humans. Spinoza claims that we believe everything we experience and see, until we consciously disbelieve it.

It has long been argued that everything you see and hear isn't true. But we must know evidences before we can believe a thing is or isn't true. I cannot remember the first time I saw a McDonald's commercial, and I do not know the first time my children saw a McDonald's commercial. I do know that I used to love it when I was a kid, but I can't stand it now. I don't even know what caused the change. Left to my own devices, I think the food is nasty and unfilling. However, there was a time when I was able to recognize that having never taken my children to McDonald's in their life, they asked for it. It was then I realized that my influences over them were subjective to their own beliefs. And by turn, all influences by outside sources are subjective to a person's own beliefs even at a young age.

At best I can concede that for a period of time, parents have the most influence over a person's development of their personality, but as a whole, the influence of mass media retains the greatest influence because it is ongoing throughout life. Our ability to learn, and a belief that mass media are training tools leads us to give more respect and greater periodic attention to the devices than we give our peers. We do this because our peers are generally subject to fallacies and inconsistencies and those peers make up the greater part of the people we hang around with.


rebuttals for hypnosis arguments
1) Not actually needed anymore but i'm going to post here anyway so that the rebuttals line up.

2) On the contrary, I believe the causation to be very important. why you are doing something dictates how far you are willing to go with it. if you are being hypnotized on stage for a once in a life time opportunity or to quit a lifelong habit that's going to take years off of your lifespan then you're going to be much more willing to follow the suggestion of someone than if you were just looking for a time filler on the tv.
finally, hypnotising yourself to change your personality can not be considered an argument for PRO unless you can offer some evidence that they would be doing this because mass media somehow suggested they do it and that mass media caused a greater effect in it than their peers or parents.

Rebuttals for interpersonal relationship arguments
1) This argument does not offer any further evidence for the effect of media, it only agrees with my earlier point and furthers it to say that your peers take over personality development once your parents' effect starts to lessen.

2) Whilst a person may be influenced by the media that they watch, i would like to reiterate my earlier point that the media they partake in will often be recommended by their friends. to take this further you could then state that the media influenced the friend to recommend it but then this would quickly spiral into an argument indifferent to PRO or CON as you can't tell whether the initial point was a peer recommending the media or media influencing the peer, even if you could prove that the peer was influenced to tell his friend about the media.

I further disagree with the analogy you use to describe this phenomena. the idea that a student will learn equally well from any medium is, to the best of our current knowledge, completely wrong. hence the development and classification of learning styles in schools to maximise information retention.

Finally, whilst you can't often find what you want to watch on TV, very few people have serious difficulty finding groups of peers with which they can communicate and become engaged with. meaning that this effect of being more engaged would argue equally well for either side, and possibly more strongly for my arguements.

rebuttals to further arguments

1) unfortunately, i am unable to open the link you posted due to restrictions on the school system. I would counter your argument however by saying again that we would therefore believe all that our peers showed and told us until we continuously believed it as well then.

2) I would argue that you do not know why the children wished to go to McDonalds but to think of it this way. If the commercial to your children to go to there but all of their friends told them repeatedly that it was nasty and unfilling, would they still want to go? or would they just agree with their friends to better fit in with the people around them.

People are naturally social, this is shown repeatedly by the way groups of people will stand as one out of the way, almost as one entity, but very few will step forward and stand for what they believe in alone. in fact these people are so rare that they become famous for their efforts in many cases, I ask how many people were willing to sit back and accept apartheid until a small group of people stood up for their equallity.

It is a shameful fact of humanity that we will sit back and allow wrong things to happen but i argue that a man on TV telling you that it's wrong will be no match for your friends and family telling you to keep your head down and get on with life in most cases.

3) whilst I can agree that peers tend to be full of fallacies, it doesn't take a genius to realise that so too is mass media. mass media is written and presented by people, who will hold the same fallacie as the people around you. In addition, you will often hang out with people with similar beliefs and interests to you. therefore similar fallacies to you, and as a result their existance will not result in you disregarding the beliefs of your peers.
Debate Round No. 4


Thank you Brepar for this debate. This is the last round and if you agree, I would like to continue this discussion with you in a follow on debate. You have made very clear and reasonable points. The points have not persuaded me to agree with your cause over mine, but they have changed my view of how powerful peer relationships are in comparison to other forms of influence.

Mass media, still has the greatest influence over our personalities, because bypass the critical factor, is agreed to by the individual, and cannot be rebutted.

As per the previous argument by con. peers are able to influence each other. I have clearly proved that because Media is a one sided influence, it has the greater influencing power.

In bypassing the critical factor, we have both agreed that a persons ability to accept influences is based on their attentiveness. I am conceding to Con's definition of hypnosis as a person being in a higher state of mental alertness and therefore more able to be influenced by messages given and less able to reject the messages being given. This also makes mass media a greater influence over peers.

Con and I both agree that all influences are believed until they are disbelieved. However in the case of peers, all peers have influence over each other. Mass medias are static and cannot be directly influenced by the individual at the time of being influenced.

Because of these three things that we have talked about, mass media has the upper hand in personality development over all other forms of influence.


I would love to further this debate with you, it has been both highly interesting and somewhat challenging, invite me and i shall come.


Since there has been much agreement between us i believe my conclusions will read similar to PRO but if you've stuck with us this far i'm sure you won't mind looking through my stand points on these subjects.

again, i argue that the media may be a one sided influence but you can very easily change channels to find something you agree with, swapping peer groups is much harder and being self subjected does not necessarily make it more influential since you will very rarely sit around watching things with moral views opposing your own

I actually disagreed with that point, preferring to move towards the learning styles argument. this varies from person to person. Being that the split for intrapersonal learners to interpersonal learners is much more toward the social side in modern day children and adolescents, primarily school friends in this case, it is likely that you would spend more time with your friends being influenced by them than you would sitting in front of the tv.

Increased focus would make you more analytical of what you are being told, therefore by following this point hypnosis would act to make you more resistant to influence, arguing against how you've decided to use it.

agreed, the media cannot be influenced. but the many varieties of views in the media make it easy to find something which you will then agree with, meaning you can easily choose not to be affected, many people will move away from what they disagree with.

since none of the points you made can be exclusively given to your side of the argument i don't believe that you have proven this in any way.

finally, would it be possible to leave the next debate's address in comments so our many avid followers could continue to follow us, though i would appreciate it if voting were done separately for each debate to show how well we did in this one.
Debate Round No. 5
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by brepar 2 years ago
see here for continued debate
Posted by brepar 2 years ago
fun debate, looking forward to the next 5 rounds :D
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Hierocles 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Even though Josh_b gave the most thorough analysis I don't think he is able to meet his burden of proof. First, his resolution will depend entirely on each person, and he provided no polls that would indicate most people spend more time exposed to media than with family, friends, and colleagues. Furthermore, it seemed that PRO more less conceded Con's contention that parents are the greatest influence in one's long-term personality.