Presentation on theme: "Media effects Hypodermic needle model Minimal effects model"— Presentation transcript:
1Media effects Hypodermic needle model Minimal effects model Uses and gratificationsAgenda-settingFramingPrimingSpiral of Silence
2Hypodermic needle model Working hypothesis of propaganda studies (1920s-1940s)Regarding public as undifferentiated massVulnerable, because of its atomization, to outside influencesMedia intending to (instrumentalised in order to) doctrinateAssuming immediate persuasive effectsAnecdotical evidenceDid Randolph Hearst prompt the Spanish-American war in 1898?Did Stalinist propaganda work, or did Russians merely acquiesce and resign to their fate under totalitarianism?
3Limited effects modelEarly empirical (survey) research into campaign and media effects (e.g. Berelson, Lazarsfeld & McPhee, The People’s Choice, 1954)Finding remarkably weak informational and persuasive effectsExplanation:Avoidance of cognitive dissonanceSelective exposureSelective perceptionSelective retentionLimited effects or fugitive effects?
4Uses and gratifications Shifting focusFrom what the media do to the audienceTo what the audience do with the media“The 'uses' approach assumes that people's values, their interests, their associations, their social rôles, are pre-potent, and that people selectively 'fashion' what they see and hear to these interests.” (Katz 1959)Gans (1974) Popular Culture and High CultureTaste culturesAudience active and goal directedAudience use mediaMedia compete with other sources of need satisfactionAudience self-conscious of interests and motives for media useAbandon value judgments about cultural significance of mass communicationLevel of political interest is a matter of choice/taste not duty
5Limitations of the “uses and gratifications” model Coincides with claims (first emerging in the 1960s) that low levels of political interest and participation should not be regarded as a problem, but rather as indicator of stability, and public satisfaction with democracy (higher participation → polarization → instability)Diversity of motivations for media use may undermine the “selective exposure” argument of the limited effects modelIndividual (news) media selection can be based on non-political considerations (e.g. entertainment value)In US, for example, talk radio, the Daily Show, or Wall Street journal consumed for entertainment/information reasonResulting in exposure to biased political content with possible effects
6Agenda-setting Shift in focus From persuasive (directional) effectsTo cognitive effectsPress ”may not be successful … telling people what to think, but it is stunningly successful in telling its readers what to think about.” (Cohen, 1963)Amount of news coverage afforded to a particular issue expected to determine public concern about that issueGroundbreaking publicationsMcCombs & Shaw (1972) “The Agenda-Setting Function of the Mass Media”Funkhouser (1972) “The Issues of the Sixties: An Exploratory Study in the Dynamics of Public Opinion”Assessing causality between media and public agendasHierarchical vs. Longitudinal studiesControlling for real-world indicatorsAggregate vs. individual-level studiesConsidering conditionality of effectsAssessing Granger causalityAssessing dynamics (optimal effect-spans and memory decay functions)
7Framing Framing sometimes defined as second-level agenda-setting First level: transmission of object salienceSecond level: transmission of attribute salienceFraming is indirect persuasionDirect persuasion concerns the altering of belief contents (convincing through argument that e.g. a policy choice will produce a positive instead of a negative outcome)Framing concerns the altering of importance that individuals attach to particular beliefs (convincing to support a certain policy by associating the policy measure with a particular value)Media vs. Individual framesMedia frames: making some aspects of perceived reality more salient, to promote particular problem definitions, causal interpretations, moral evaluation, and/or treatment recommendationIndividual frames: mentally stored clusters of ideas that guide processing of information
8Causes and effects of framing Media frames as dependent variableInfluenced by social norms and values of journalists, organizational pressures and constraints, pressures of interest groups, journalistic routines, ideological or political orientations of journalistsIntentionality: ”authorities and pressure groups categorize beliefs in a way that marshals support and opposition to their interests” (Edelman)Media frames as independent variableInfluences on attitudes and opinions - through problem definition, attribution of blame, indication of problem solution by the mediaInfluences on individual frames – overlapping frames, but different weights attached: ”what was central to the media might be rather peripheral to most repondents” (Huang)Individual frames as dependent variableThematic vs. episodic media framing affects attribution of responsibility, dependent on general salience of issuesConflict, human interest, or conflict frames tend to activate different cognitive processes in the audienceIndividual frames as independent variableLinking audience frames with patterns of political action and participationAudiences may process media stories either in terms of diagnostic, prognostic, or motivational framing; first two imply attribution of blame and responsibility, and expectations about future policy, hence asserting passivity in audiences
9PrimingPriming, a close relative to framing, reintroduces the notion of persuasive media effectsConcerned with the consequences of setting the public agendaExperimental studies (Iyengar and Kinder, 1983)Persuasive effects on beliefs, attitudes and choicesPlacing issues or values high on the public agenda makes these salient, i.e. important, problematic, easily retrievableSalient issues serve as criteria for evaluating leaders, performances, political processes“It is difficult to change people’s preferences; it is easier to affect the priorities or weights they give to subpreferences bearing on the central decision. A voter may assess the political situation from several standpoints; from one, the Democrats appear better to him and, from another, the Republicans do. His decision is likely to follow the aspect given greater weight by him – with no change in the substance of his own opinions. Thus the voter’s feeling about what is critical in the political situation enables him to find a way out of a potential ‘conflict’ over the issues and hence facilitates political integration within the individual.” (Berelson, Lazarsfeld and McPhee, The People’s Choice, 1954)
10Spiral of silence Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann Public, opinion, sanction and punishment”to the individual, not isolating himself is more important than his own judgment”Indidividual observes environment to assess distribution of opinionsThe stronger he finds his opinion present and reinforced by the environment, the more confident and outspoken he will bePublic opinion understood as amalgam that compels consentRole of mediaIt is not the actual but the apparent, publicly visible strength of opinions that the individual assessesSpiral of silence a dynamic model of public opinion formationPrevalence of opinions in the media key variable in explaining the likelihood that an individual will speak his mind, be silent, or change his mind