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• Effects theories look at the effects of media on the
• Studies in 1930s – 1950s suggested that the media
was a powerful influence on behavioural change.
This was at a time of:
• Rapid increase and popularity of Television & Radio
• Immergence of persuasion industries (advertising / propaganda)
• Payne Fund studies done on children to assess the effects of
• Hitler's monopolization of the mass media during WWII
THE HYPODERMIC NEEDLE THEORY ( 1 9 3 0 - 1 9 5 0 )
T H E H Y P O D E R M I C N E E D L E
T H E O RY
H T T P : / / Y O U T U . B E / Q T 5 M J B L V G C Y
Or “Magic Bullet Theory”
Example was in 1938 when H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds.” was broadcast when the programme was interrupted by
a news broadcast saying the aliens had invaded a town in New Jersey creating mass hysteria among a million listeners
M A S S C O M M U N I C AT I O N
Media is like a bullet or giant needle injecting into the
thoughts and behaviours of a passive mass audience
who are duped or drugged by it.
H T T P : / / W W W . Y O U T U B E . C O M / W A T C H ? V = Y D 8 8 H _ 5 K - R Y & F E A T U R E = R E L A T E D
LIMITED EFFECTS MODEL
Paul Lazarsfeld (1940)
Lazarsfeld did a study, (The People’s Choice) which suggested that media doesn’t flow
directly into the audience’s mind unmediated.
Dependant on an audience’s background, experiences, social factors etc. media could be
filtered and interpreted.
Blulmer and Katz (1974)
A further study by Blulmer & Katz said that audience media consumption is based on choices
so that an audience will seek out media that meets their desire / need /personal preference
•Relationship (using e.g. soaps to replace family life)
•Personal Identity (finding sense of understanding self)
•Surveillance (seeking useful information)
Stuart Hall (1980-1990)
Builds on the active audience idea and analyses the relationship between
producer and audience:
The text is encoded by the producer and decoded by the audience
By using recognised codes and conventions, and by drawing upon audience
expectations relating to aspects such as genre and use of stars, the producers
can position the audience and thus create a certain amount of agreement on
what the code means. This is known as a preferred reading.
See http://www.mediaknowall.com/as_alevel/alevkeyconcepts/alevelkeycon.php?pageID=audience For further information
• Dominant Hegemonic / Preferred
-audience recognises what media is preferred or offered meaning
is and broadly agrees with it
-dominant meaning is recognised but rejected for cultural or
- reader accepts, rejects, or refines elements of the text in light of
previously held views (e.g. they might agree with the need to combat terrorism but
not agree with the way in which it was executed in a particular situation)
Relate audience theory to
How might apply Audience Theory to your own work.
Using your Teaser trailer & an existing real media product (that you
researched) ask yourself the following questions:
1. Who is your Target Audience?
2. Why might they choose to watch your product?
(i.e. what elements of your teaser trailer would appeal to them?) reflect on
Blulmer & Katz’s Gratification model.
1. Are your audience active or passive viewers? (why do you think that?)
2. As producer what codes have you embedded for the audience to