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Psychology and Mass Communication Theories

There are several mass communication theories that try to explain various influences as well as dynamics surrounding the diverse types of mass media and their effects on the public. The cultivation theory developed by George Gerbner attempts to identify the manipulation of television on the viewers’ perception of the environment around them. In his analysis, Gerbner discovers that the prevalence of TV resulted in a collective perception of the general world. Moreover, the theory potentiates that it homogenizes diverse cultures (Suresh, 2003). According to this theory, the TV portrayed the general society to be the worst place to live in. consequently, it proposed that TV leads individuals to become distrustful of the world. With the continuity of time, some symbols, portrayals, and stipulations prevail and are perceived as real.

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On the other hand, according to the “spiral of silence theory” developed by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, the media publicizes mainstream opinions (Suresh, 2003). Consequently, individuals adjust their opinions in compliance with these perceptions so as to avoid getting isolated (Fischer, Greitemeyer, Kastenmuller, Vogrincic & Sauer, 2011). Persons who view their personal perceptions as being accepted shall express them—conversely, others who believe themselves to be a minority end up suppressing their views. Hence, innovators and change frontiers are courageous to thwart segregation. Generally, from these two theories, it can be seen that the media remains a chief sculpture of the manner of society’s thinking, beliefs, attitudes as well as behaviors in general (García-Ros & Pérez-González, 2006). Thus, the role of the media in influencing the cognition, attitude, as well as behaviors of society members remains inevitable.


Fischer, P., Greitemeyer, T., Kastenmuller, A., Vogrincic, C., & Sauer, A. (2011). The effects of risk-glorifying media exposure on risk-positive cognitions, emotions, and behaviors: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, vol. 137(3), 367-390.

García-Ros, R., & Pérez-González, F. (2006). Learning styles, motivational orientation and instructional media preferences: a study with student teachers in Spain. International Journal of Instructional Media, vol. 33(4), 415-426.

Suresh, K. (2003). Theories of Communication. Web.

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