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Critically Assess The Media Effects Model Of Communication

2964 words - 12 pages

“There are many fascinating questions to be explored about the influence of the media upon our perceptions, and ways of thinking and being in the world” (Gauntlett, 2005). As a result of this over 10,000 studies have been conducted which have looked at the consumption of violent media and the differing responses to different forms of the media amongst different people (Ferrell, 2005). The idea of the media effects debate was originally proposed by the Frankfurt School as a result of people’s reactions to Nazi propaganda (Albertazzi & Cobley, 2013). Since the beginning of the debate many questions have been raised as to whether the media is harmful or not as audiences tend to be extremely problematic. It is also evident from this research that there are no clear cut answers that can firmly end the dispute. Gauntlett suggests that there is a choice of two conclusions that can be drawn about why there are no definite answers to the media effects debate. Firstly he suggests that it could be fair to conclude that after so much research effort and no direct effect being clearly identified that there may simply be no effects to be found. Secondly he argues that media effects research may have consistently taken the wrong approach to analysing the mass media (Gauntlett, 20056). Throughout this assignment I shall focus on critically assessing the media effects model of communication. The first paragraph will provide a brief outline of the media effects model with the subsequent paragraphs delivering an assessment of the model with reference to further theories including the uses and gratification model, cultivation analysis and encoding/decoding theory suggested by Hall. Finally the conclusion will provide a summary of what has been discussed throughout the essay.
The media effects model is a model of communication which is used to explain human communication processes. In particular it analyses the possible effects of media on society and also the effects of society on the media (Barker & Petley, 2013). The model considers its audiences to be passive absorbers of information opposed to active engagers (Barker & Petley, 2013). The Frankfurt school proposed the hypodermic syringe model as a way of explaining media effects (Hanes, 2000). The model suggests that the audiences are simply passively injected with the media with no questions asked (Hanes, 2000). The media effects model argues that the media is an extremely powerful tool which could be used for manipulation and exploitation in times of social change. It is based on Pavlov’s idea of conditioning as it states how we can be conditioned to do things by the media (Rosenberg, 2013). An example of just how powerful the media can be can be seen when analysing the War of the Worlds 1938 radio station broadcast. Throughout the adaptation of the War of the Worlds novel many people missed the introduction which reiterated that the story was not real to life which in turn caused widespread panic. Many...

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