About Cultural Indicators

Cultural Indicators refers to a body of research that looks at how the world is pictured in the media (particularly television) and how media consumers view the real world. Since the late 1960s, researchers have been gathering data about portrayals on television (which we refer to as “message system analysis”) and doing research on how those portrayals are absorbed or internalized by viewers (we call this “cultivation” research).

This research was pioneered by George Gerbner at the University of Pennsylvania, and is still conducted by a team loosely organized under the Cultural Indicators umbrella. For many years this research has also been carried out internationally by many independent investigators.

For detailed bibliographic information about Cultural Indicators, see Michael Morgan’s bibliography. Also see the George Gerbner archive for access to many documents on Cultural Indicators research.

This web site serves as a resource for ongoing developments in Cultural Indicators, and for access to data sources as we make them available.