Media Effects Debate

Theory: thoughts, what you believe

Hypodermic Needle Theory- thought audiences are passive- have no control of what they think- people only got information from media, the only major influence in their life- the media, no priests telling them right from wrong, we don’t have the power to know right from wrong, or the power to question the media. Audiences are injected with beliefs and ideology, we are heavily influenced by the media and we don’t have the power to stop that, behaviour can change due to media

Hypodermic Needle “injecting” the audience, affects directly and immediately

It happens over a long period of time so people do not notice how the media affects our thoughts

Even adverts, reviews, trailers etc can influence people

Games are also included; people may say they play violent games however are not violent or claim not to be violent

Two Step Flow Theory

More active audience- more in control of thoughts, discussing media texts with each other, influenced by “opinion leaders” such as parents, doctors, experts, people you trust a lot about a particular topic, people speaking from experience, explaining it etc- these are more influential than the media to audiences. This kind of influence can go the wrong way as well as the right way. To some people the media can be less powerful to trigger thoughts than opinion leaders, such as some parents can influence their child to be violent.

Cultivation Theory

Media being displayed can influence an individual over a long period of time as “repeated exposure” it makes the audience become “desensitised” meaning they become less sensitive. For eg. If you play violent games repeatedly over a long period of time, you become less sensitive to seeing violence, it doesn’t shock you as much as it would a person not playing violent games etc. individuals get used to seeing violence. Celebrities can influence individuals, body-dysmorphic.

Uses and Gratifications Theory

Looks at why the audience uses media. This theory is very different to the rest because it says the audiences are not influenced at all by the media. They say that we have the power to be influenced or not. The audience is not passive; they are very active people with a mind of their own. Human beings have certain needs(4) , we use the media to gratify (satisfy) these needs: 1. Diversion (the need for escapism-entertainment) 2. Personal identity (using the media to label ourselves and develop as individuals) 3. Personal relationships (developing new social relationships and maintaining relationships via social media- finding similar people or similar interests with new people over the internet- fictional community, bringing a community closer together) 4. Surveillance. (we use news programmes, news papers and even social media as surveillance- to find out what is going on around us) Rather than the media having power over us, we have power over the media.

Reception Theory

This theory is saying that the way in which we are influenced by the media depends on who you are. Not everyone responds in the same way, opposed to the hypodermic needle theory as they say everyone is influenced no matter what. Individuals interpret the media in different ways. 1. Dominant reading- interpret things in the way the producer wants you to interpret them (for eg. Advert of drink driving makes a person not want to drink and drive because of the graphic images they advertise). 2. Negotiated reading- 50/50 agreeing and disagreeing with the message of the media text. 3. Oppositional reading- audience in conflict with the media texts message- completely disagree with it.

-( women representation) Some people had an oppositional response to the advert of “protein world beach body” makes women feel unattractive and inferior. http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/jul/01/protein-world-beach-body-ready-ads-asa

-Dove represents women more realistically without creating body image issues against women

-airbrushed images of women could also be motivation to women


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