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UNIT 7. 4 ways how people use the mass media. HOW PEOPLE USE THE MASS MEDIA. 4 ways how people use the mass media: Cognition Diversion Social utility Withdrawal. 1. COGNITION.

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Unit 7


4 ways how people use the mass media

How people use the mass media

4 ways how people use the mass media:

  • Cognition

  • Diversion

  • Social utility

  • Withdrawal

1 cognition

  • Cognition is the act of coming to know something. When a person uses a massmedium to obtain information about something, then he or she is using the medium in acognitive way. Clearly, the individual's cognitive use of a medium is directly parallel tothe surveillance function at the macroanalytical level.


  • At the individual level, researchershave noted that two different types of cognitive functions are performed:

    • One using the media to keep upwith information on currentevents, while the other using the media to learnabout things in general or thingsthat relate to a person's generalcuriosity.


  • Reasons people use media to keep up with current events:

    • I want to keep up with what the government is doing.

    • I want to understand what is going on in the world.

    • I want to know what political leaders are doing.

  • Reasons of using media to learnabout things in general or relate to a person's generalcuriosity:

    • I want to learn how to do things I've never done before

    • I want to satisfy my curiosity

    • The media make me want to learn more about things

    • The media give me ideas.

2 diversion

  • 3 types of diversion:

    • Stimulation/Seeking relief from boredom or the routine activities of everyday life

    • Relaxation/escape from the pressures and problems of day-to-day existance

    • Emotional release


  • 3 types of diversion (cont…)

  • Stimulation

    • Many people state that they watch, read or listen simply to pass the time.

    • The media have taken advantage of

      this need to avoid boredom in many

      creative ways:

      • Some airlines provide audio and video

        entertainment during long flights.

      • Advertisers are now found on walls

        and the backs of stall doors in rest rooms.


3 types of diversion (cont…)

  • Relaxation

    • Watching American Idol or reading People magazine represents a pleasant diversion from the frustrations of everyday life.

  • Emotional release

    • This form is the most complex.

    • The use of the media for emotional release is fairly obvious. People goes to theaters to watch Scream, The Ring, etc and screamed their lungs out.

    • Tearjerkers also drawn crowds. Titanic, and Pearl Harbour, for example, have prompted thousands, perhaps millions, to cry their eyes out.


  • Why do audiences cheer when Liverpool wins?

  • Probably because people enjoy a certain amount of emotional release. People feel better after a good scream or good cry.

3 social utility

Types of social utility:

  • Conversational currency

    • The media provide a common ground for social conversations, and many people use things that they have read, seen or heard as topics for discussion when talking with others.

    • Have you ever talked with a friend about a TV program?

    • Have you ever discussed a current movie or the latest record you heard on the radio?

  • Overcome loneliness

4 withdrawal

  • At times, people use the mass media to create a barrier between themselves and other people or activities. The media help people avoid certain chores that should be done.

  • In this case, attending to mass media content was defined as a socially appropriate behaviour that should not be interrupted.

It’s your turn to clean the house

I can’t. I want to finish watching this program. You do it.


  • People use the media to create a buffer zone between themselves and other people.


  • Why do you watch TV?

  • Why do you go to movies?

  • Can you find any more current examples of linkage, media dysfunction, interpretation, etc.?