Critique the Media Effects and the Hypodermic Needle

Topics: Marshall McLuhan, Mass media, Communication Pages: 2 (465 words) Published: January 12, 2011
The term media effects as used in psychology, Sociology, Communication theory etc. refers to the ways mass media affect how audiences think and behave.

"The hypodermic needle" as coined by Harold Lasswell is a model of mass communication also referred to as 'the magic bullet perspective'. It is meant to give a mental image of the direct, strategic and planned infusion of a messages into individuals.Both images used to express this theory (a bullet and a needle) suggest a powerful and direct flow of information from the sender to the receiver. The bullet theory graphically suggests that the message is a bullet, fired from the "media gun" into the viewer's "head". With similarly emotive imagery the hypodermic needle model suggests that media messages are injected straight into a passive audience which is immediately influenced by the message. They express the view that the media is a dangerous means of communicating an idea because the receiver or audience is powerless to resist the impact of the message. Many of the media effects on the public are highly positive. For instance the media provides individuals with educational programmes which go a long way in increasing the knowledge the individual has about certain issues, product or introduce the individual to it. Another positive effect of the media is the exposure of people to products etc. The hypodermic needle model; the infusion of messages to the individual about a product. The individual thus becomes convinced about the product. Both the Hypodermic needle and Media effects have negative sides. A long exposure of the individual to violence tends to make its viewers prone to act as seen. However t is wrong to assume that just because an audience sees acts of violence in media, they would actually commit them. Of the millions of people who watch violent films, only a small number have carried out acts of violence as a direct result. People regularly exposed to violent media usually grow up to be completely...

References: Davis, D.K. & Baron, S.J. (1981). A History of Our Understanding of Mass Communication. In: Davis, D.K. & Baron, S.J. (Eds.). Mass Communication and Everyday Life: A Perspective on Theory and Effects (19-52). Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing.
Barker, Martin, & Petley, Julian, eds (2001), Ill Effects: The media/violence debate - Second edition, London: Routledge
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