Theories and Effects of Mass Communication


Name_______________________ Section_____________________ Date___________

Worksheet 13.1 Finding Theory in Modern Life

Your instructor will divide the class up and assign you to one of the following theoretical perspective groups. The group you have been assigned to is

______ Agenda-Setting Theory ______ Uses and Gratifications Theory

______ Spiral of Silence Theory ______ Cultivation Analysis Theory

1. From your personal observations of your life and the environments through which you move, identify examples of media effects (or lack of effects), which support the perspective that you have been assigned. Be sure to explain how the example supports the theoretical perspective.

Example #1

Example #2

Example #3

Example #4

2. Now think of some examples that do not support your assigned theoretical perspective. Don’t forget to explain how the perspective is not supported.

Example #1

Example #2

Example #3

Example #4

Name_______________________ Section_____________________ Date___________

Journaling the Explanatory Power of Theory

After reading Chapter 13, you should now have a better understanding of various theories of communication. As the text explains, we currently believe that the media do affect us, but not in the all-powerful ways once taught by the magic bullet theories. Instead we believe the media impact us powerfully in limited areas of life, such as that explained by agenda setting theory.

First, what are the three most important problems facing America today?




Now that you’ve listed the most important problems, think about how you came to believe that those are the most important problems. Are they from personal experience, do the media talk about those problems, or is it a combination of the two? Write an essay explaining your answer to these two questions. Talk about how much knowledge you could even have about each issue without the media, and therefore the amount of “dependency” you place on the media for that specific topic.

Name_______________________ Section_____________________ Date___________

Journaling Your Response to Media Effects

Watch a television crime drama with cops patrolling crime-infested streets. Pick three demographic characteristics to look for among the show’s characters and even the people standing in the background of scenes. These characteristics could be gender, race, age, socioeconomic status, nationality, education, or other variables. Note the proportions of people for each demographic characteristic. Now note whether these people were good or bad characters, major or minor characters. Who were the victims, perpetrators, or heroes? What did you observe? Questions you might ask yourself include these: Were women portrayed differently from men? Were races portrayed differently? Were there any women over 65? Were any of them heroes or perpetrators, or were they just victims? Once you’ve done this analysis, write an essay describing your findings and discussing the potential importance of these findings in the realm of societal stereotyping.

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