'The hypodermic syringe model sees the media audience as passive and easily influenced and manipulated by the mass media.' Assess this,referring to sociological evidence and arguments.

Essay by Jabberwocky19High School, 12th gradeB, November 2002

download word file, 5 pages 3.5

The hypodermic syringe model is a theory of media effect on audience. The term is used to describe interaction between the media and public belief, offering the concept of people becoming affected by the information 'injected' into them through their information medium. (For example, television viewers would have their minds injected with sex and violence after watching too many graphically violent programmes, and this would affect their views and behaviour). The model tends to see contemporary society, as Greg Philo, a challenger of this theory says: 'composed of fragmented individuals who were subject to powerful and effective propaganda messages which they received and then reproduced...'

An example of the hypodermic syringe model in action could be applied to the murder of Jamie Bulger, before which the two appallingly young murderers of the toddler had been discussing violent films that they had seen. It is generally believed that the films that the two had watched affected their behaviour, causing them to want to 'try out' some of the things they had seen on screen.

However, problems with this model is that it tends to view the individual as a passive member of a large audience with no will or opinions of their own; it disregards other factors and differences in individual reception of media messages. The general view is that the hypodermic syringe model is an outdated early attempt by sociologists and psychologists to explain the relationship between the public and the media. Is it really possible for people to receive the media message unadulterated and in it's entirety? Even if they do, how will it affect their behaviour, if indeed it does?

Audiences are not blank sheets of paper on which media messages can be written; members of an audience will have prior attitudes and beliefs, which will determine how...