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Media effects. Laswell’s Model of Mass Communication. Who Says What In Which Channel To Whom With What Effect. Effects Theories. Walter Lippmann Public Opinion (1922) We see the world as "pictures in our heads" Media shape perception of things we have not experienced personally.

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laswell s model of mass communication
Laswell’s Model of Mass Communication
  • Who
  • Says What
  • In Which Channel
  • To Whom
  • With What Effect
effects theories
Effects Theories
  • Walter Lippmann
  • Public Opinion (1922)
  • We see the world as "pictures in our heads"
  • Media shape perception of things we have not experienced personally
powerful effects
Powerful Effects
  • Media have immediate, direct influence
  • Hypodermic Needle model
  • Magic Bullet model
minimalist effects
Minimalist Effects
  • Paul Lazarsfeld Erie County study (1940)
  • Mass media had hardly any direct effect
  • Personal contact more important than media contact
  • Media effects mostly indirect
two step flow model
Two-step Flow model
  • Media affect individuals through opinion leaders
  • Opinion leaders are those who influence others
    • Clergy, teachers, neighborhood leaders, etc.
status conferral
Status Conferral
  • Media coverage can create prominence for issues & people

Agenda Setting

  • Maxwell McCombs & Don Shaw
  • Media tell people what to think about – not what to think
media can
Media can:
  • Create awareness
  • Establish priorities
  • Perpetuate issues
  • Intramedia effect as well
narcoticizing dysfunction
Narcoticizing dysfunction
  • Media do not energize people into taking action
  • Media lull people into passivity by overwhelming them with information
  • People deceive selves into believing they’re involved when they’re actually only informed
cumulative effects theory
Cumulative Effects Theory
  • Media influence is gradual over time
  • Effect is often powerful

Spiral of Silence (Noelle-Neumann)

  • Vocal majority intimidates others into silence
uses gratifications
Uses & Gratifications
  • People choose media that meet their needs & interests

Needs such as:

  • Surveillance
  • Socialization
  • Diversion
  • Media provide info about what’s going on
  • Both news & entertainment
  • Media help people fit into society

Parasocial interaction

  • False sense of participating in dialogue
  • Communication is actually one-way

Media as entertainment

  • Stimulate
  • Relax
  • Release
consistency theory
Consistency theory
  • People choose media & messages consistent with their existing views & values


  • Exposure
  • Perception
  • Retention & Recall
selective exposure
Selective Exposure
  • People choose some media messages over others
  • People ignore messages that contradict their beliefs
  • Individuals exercise control over media’s effects on them
selective perception
Selective Perception
  • People tend to hear what they want or expect to hear
  • Also called autistic perception
Bottom line:
  • Individuals have a large degree of control over how the mass media affect them
mass media socialization
Mass media & socialization
  • Mass media can help initiate children into society
  • Demonstrate dominant behaviors and norms
  • Observational learning
role modeling
Role modeling
  • Imitative behavior
  • Impact can be negative
  • Impact can be "prosocial"
socialization via eavesdropping
Socialization via eavesdropping
  • Children learn about adult topics by seeing them depicted on television/movies
  • Can perpetuate social inequality
war of the worlds revisited
War of the Worlds Revisited

Why did the Orson Welles broadcast have such a powerful effect on its audience?'s Radio Sounds Showcase: The 1938 "War of the Worlds" Radio Broadcast Wavs

“Reverence” for radio as a reliable medium
  • Predisposition to expect bad news
  • Selective perception
  • Gullibility fueled by awe of science
  • WWI memories – gas warfare
  • Failure of common sense
determining causality
Determining Causality
  • Correlation means that 2 or more variables coexist
  • Causality means that one variable causes another
  • Beware of bad science (studies purporting causality)