The limited effect paradigm

by shalinijena

The paradigm shift basically wants to talk about the media reinforcing the social and existing values rather than threatening the status quo. status quo refers to the state of affairs in the country.

The propaganda theory was about the powerful effect of media, the limited effects theory is a radical transformation that deals with the ‘limited effects of media’.

This is a ‘shift’ because the construction of the theory by its researchers brought a dominant paradigm- a radical transformation in the media.

now paradigm is more like a belief system that helps one understand the world around them . so a paradigm usually means like a major change in society which makes the previous ones obsolete. and so dominant paradigm is the belief that is more accepted with less contradictions. (ok this is not exactly the social theory, but I guess enough for a layman to understand).

This theory was developed during the the election campaign of 1940 – between Roosevelt against Republican Wendell Willkie. I got a nice explanation in a site though. so here you are,

Limited Effects Theory propounds that media have minimal or limited effects because those effects are mitigated by a variety of mediating or intervening variables.

The broad generalizations that emerged from the limited effect research work conducted between 1945 and 1960. Media rarely directly influenced individuals. Most people are sheltered from direct manipulation by propaganda by their family, friends, co-worker and social groups. People don’t believe everything they hear or see in the media. They turn to others for advice and critical interpretation. This assumption contradicts mass society notion that viewed people as isolated and highly vulnerable to direct manipulation. There is two –step flow of media influence. Media will only be influential if the opinion leaders who guide others are influenced first. But since these opinion leaders are sophisticated, critical media users, they are not easily manipulated by media content. They act as effective barrier to media influence.

By the time most people become adults that have strongly held group commitments such as political party and religious affiliation that individual media messages are powerless to overcome. These commitments cause people to reject messages even if other group members are not present to assist them. Media use tends to be consistent with these commitments. E.g. Republican and democrats; religious commitments etc

When media effects do occur, they will be modest and isolated. Huge number of people across the land will not be converted. Rather small pockets of individuals might be influence-usually those who are cut off from the influence of other people or whose long-term commitments are undermined by social crises.