It’s pretty clear that there are both
positive and negative effects of media on society. We’ll dig into what some of
those are today and I’ll give you a very compelling example of how it works. You
might notice that I’ve got a logo on my shirt right here. It says Nova Principles.
This is a program that I co-founded with my partner, Charlie Wakamatsu. Who’s
retired police officer. We developed a curriculum to teach kids in the school.
We trained the police officers who go into the school to teach the kids about
alcohol and other drugs, about safety, about media awareness. And it’s a
phenomenal program that helps to teach kids principles that allow them to be
successful. Our motto is “Illuminating the path to excellence.” One of the principles
that we teach is an old computer term. It’s called “Gi-Go.” Gi-Go. You’ve heard
it? Maybe? Garbage in, garbage out. G-I-G-O. Gi-Go. Garbage in, garbage out
means that it matters. What kind of stuff we put into our head? I have to tell you
about an experience that I’ve had many times with groups of people. Picture a
group of people that’s gathered together. Maybe we’ve got a hundred people in a
room. And I have an exercise that I take them through and then I show them this
stimulus. Now, this is simply 3 letters with a blank in between the
first 2. R, blank, P-E. And I ask them a simple question. What letter is missing
from this word? You’ve already come up with a letter haven’t you? The letter
that you come up with is determined by what’s all
ready in your mind? When I do this experiment with a whole roomful of
people, I have roughly a third of the audience that says that letter is very
obviously and I. The other two-thirds of the room is looking at them like, “You’re
crazy. It’s not an “I”. Another third of the room says, “No, no, no, no.” It’s an “O”
that’s missing. And that surprises the other two-thirds of the room. But they
are sure that it’s an O. And the final group, it’s an “A”. Unfortunately Dr. Paul,
it’s an “A.” Well those three letters form very different words with this
particular stimulus, don’t they? Why does one of the groups say so convincingly
that it’s an I? Here’s how I set them up for it.
I have everyone in the group close their eyes. Everyone in their own close your
eyes. Now, a third of the group and I’ve already determined which thirds where
we’re dividing. Third of the group open your eyes. And I show them these words.
You’ll see that this stimulus says yellow, banana, red, apple. They get those
words in their mind I tell them, “Look, just focus on think about picture and
envision these words. I want you to memorize them. I want you to give them
down, you got them? Awesome. Now, close your eyes.” They close their
eyes I put those words away now the second group, open your eyes. And I show
them the next set of words it looks like this. Now, you see on this stimulus card, I
have climbing, tug-O-War, pull and braided. “Notice what images that brings to your
mind. Think about it, visualize it. See it
clearly, you got it? Memorize the words, you’re there? Awesome.”
Now close your eyes. Second group closes their eyes. And I put those words away.
And now, it’s time for the third group to open their eyes. They open their eyes and
they get to see these words. Sex, violence, abuse and crime. Yeah, how did they get
lucky enough to be in this group, right? “Think about the words. Get them in your
head, okay? Memorize those words, you got it? Awesome.
Now, close your eyes.” Now, everyone in the room, open your eyes and tell me what
letter is missing. Can you see from this example why that first third of the
group was so convinced that that missing letter is I? Because obviously we’re
talking about fruit and ripe fruit, yellow banana, red apple. Yeah, it’s an I.
It’s an I. That’s why they’re so sure. Well, the other 2 groups are puzzled
that they would think it’s an I. Because the second group is equally sure
that it’s an O. We’re talking about ropes, tug-of-war, pull, braided, climbing. It’s an
O. Got it. And the third group is every bit as convinced that it’s an A. You’re
not wrong for whatever letter you thought it was when I first showed you
the stimulus. In fact, without the preparatory experience of seeing the
other word sets, whatever comes up for you is going to be what you’ve been
exposed to the most recently that helps you to make sense out of that
stimulus that I showed you. R, blank, P,E. You might notice also that if you came
up with an A it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person who’s inclined to go out
there and commit a crime. No, it probably means you’ve been tracking the media. It
probably means you’ve watched the news or you’ve tuned into the media that’s
having an effect on your brain. And it’s not right or wrong. Notice that it’s
happening. Is it the effect that you wanted to have? There are positive
effects of media, there are negative effects of media. And I’m not here to
tell you which is which? I want you to notice that it’s happening. And that it’s
impacting your brain. What goes in matters. And it affects what comes out.
We’ve been able to show it with simple experiments like the one I just shared
with you. We’ve learned it through sad experience. As we provided incarceration
for people who have acted out on the negative media influences that they
allowed to come into their mind. It matters. Garbage in, garbage out. What
can we do about all this? I’m making a determined effort personally to provide
lots of positive media through this channel. There are so many other people
who are providing inspiring and uplifting and healthy content for us to
enjoy and to consume what goes in matters because that affects what comes
out. What if all of us got a little more on purpose about sharing positive media.
Not only sharing it, but creating it. And then acting in ways that continue to
perpetuate positive and inspiring interactions
between our fellow human beings. We’ve had enough with the hate and the
negativity and the crime. It’s our turn to step up with the positive input that
will absolutely transform our world. This episode was sponsored by Nova Principles.
Check it out at novarinciples.com. I’m a founder of this program where we
teach children the kinds of principles that I shared here in this video today.
We would love to have your support.