Hypodermic needle model

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The hypodermic needle model (also known as the magic bullet theory or the direct effects model) is an early theory of mass communications. The theory stated that the mass media had direct influence over audiences by injecting their minds with information.[1] According to this theory media messages are powerful forces and audiences are powerless to resist them.[2] The theory was popular during the 1940s and 1950s.[3] Ideas about the power of the mass media were based on historical events. One was the role played by the Hearst Newspapers in getting public support for the Spanish-American War.[3] Another was the powerful Nazi propaganda campaigns by Joseph Goebbels in World War II. Still another was the idea of a powerful Madison Avenue advertising influence on consumer buying and voting.[3] Later researchers determined the theory was just too simple and too general to be accurate.[4]

Most modern media scholars think the theory is mostly false.[5] However, many Americans still believe the mass media has unlimited power to control people's minds.[5] In effect they believe the myth that if the mass media tells people to jump, the only question will be how high.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. C.V. Narasimha Reddi, Effective Public Relations and Media Strategy (New Delhi, PHL Learning, 2010), p. 42
  2. Julia Wood, Communication Mosaics: An Introduction to the Field of Communication (Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011), pp. 300–301
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations, 5th Edition (New York: Free Press/Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2003), p. 303
  4. Networks in the Knowledge Economy, eds. Rob Cross; et al. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 133
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 David L. Martinson, 'Teachers Must Not Pass along Popular "Myths" Regarding the Supposed Omnipotence of the Mass Media', The High School Journal, Vol. 90, No. 1 (Oct – Nov 2006), pp. 17–18