Early in communication research, an approach was developed to study the gratifications that attract and hold audiences to the kinds of media and the types of content that satisfy their social and psychological needs. Researchers Jay G. Blumer and Elihu Katz introduced the Uses and Gratification Theory not asking the question of "What do media do to people?" rather asking, “What do people do with media?"
The Uses and Gratification Theory
A theory of Mass Communication that places the needs, motives and gratifications of media users in the center of interest and sees media users playing an active role in the media consumption process. It presents the use of media in terms of gratification of social and psychological needs of an individual.
Categories of the Uses and Gratification Theory
* Cognitive needs
People use media for acquiring knowledge, information and understanding. The audience gains understanding of the world around by consuming media text.
* Personal Integrative needs
People use media to treasure their status, gain credibility and stabilize social condition. Often people identify a part of themselves in media characters or in presented circumstances. There must be value reinforcement or reassurance; self-understanding and reality exploration.
* Social Integrative needs
People create personal relationship with the characters in the media. It encompasses the need to socialize with other individuals.
* Tension release needs
Media allows the user to relieve the tension by offering an escape to reality and creating a break from daily routines and problems.
Consumed purely for entertainment purposes, there are no other gratifications.
Uses and gratifications theory attempts to explain the uses and functions of the media for individuals, groups, and society in general. There are three objectives in developing uses and... [continues]
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