*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on ScienceDaily.
A new report by UCLA’s Center for Scholars and Storytellers assesses the values emphasized by television programs popular with tweens over each decade from 1967 to 2017, charting how 16 values have waxed and waned in importance during that 50-year span.
Among the key findings is that fame, after nearly 40 years of ranking near the bottom (it was 15th in 1967, 1987, and 1997), rose to become the No. 1 value in 2007, then dropped to sixth in importance in 2017.
Achievement — being very successful — was ranked first in 2017, with self-acceptance, image, popularity, and being part of a community rounding out the top five.
The report, “The Rise and Fall of Fame: Tracking the Landscape of Values Portrayed on Television from 1967 to 2017”, evaluated two programs per decade (and four in 2017), from “The Andy Griffith Show” in 1967 and “Happy Days” in 1977 to “American Idol” and “Hannah Montana” in 2007 and “America’s Got Talent” and “Girl Meets World” in 2017.
Being part of community, for instance, which ranked No. 1 in 1967, 1977, and 1997 (and No. 2 in 1987), plummeted to the 11th spot in 2007 — 10 spots below fame — before rising again to fifth in 2017. Likewise, being kind and helping others, the No. 2 value in 1967 and 1997, fell to the 12th spot in 2007. It is now ranked eighth.
“I believe that television reflects the culture, and this half-century of data shows that American culture has changed drastically,” said report author Yalda Uhls, founder and executive director of the Center for Scholars and Storytellers and an adjunct assistant professor of psychology. “Media plays an important role as young people are developing a concept of the social world outside of their immediate environment.”