Hypodermic needle theory


  • Passive audience are “injected” with ideologies, beliefs, messages and values e.g. children.
  • Our behaviour is easily and directly shaped by these media messages.

Two step flow

  • Assumes a more active audience who will discuss the media text with each other.
  • It still assumes that we can be passive.
  • Proposes that we are influenced by “opinion leaders” e.g. doctors, experts and parents.
  • It has to be someone you trust to know a lot about that particular topic.
  • Media production – decoder – opinion leader.

Pros and Cons

Pros –

  • People would believe and take in what things a wrong and essentially we would have a crime free, stress free life.

Cons –

  • The audience have no say in what’s right and wrong they are just told and that’s that.
  • We would buy everything we saw when someone said we needed it.

Cultivation theory

  • Repeated exposure to a media message, will lead to “desensitisation” i.e. audience becomes less sensitive.

Pros and Cons


  • We would come more accustom to the shocking this we see in day to day life even children.


  • Young children would still be shocked and scared because they haven’t yet been exposed to enough of the media.

Uses and gratifications theory

  • Looks at why audience use the media.
  • Assumes that audiences are active consumers – they are not passive.
  • Audience have variety of needs that they gratify through the media.
  • We use the media as a diversion to take your mind of something.
  • We use the media to identify our personality because it’s comforting.
  • We use the media to enhance personal relationships.
  • We use the media to find out what is happening in the world around us (news).

Pros and Cons

Pros –

  • It helps us in day to day life.

Cons –

  • There isn’t anything on there for comforting as a background noise

Reception theory (Stuart Hall)

  • The audience do not passively accept a media text.
  • Hall proposed three different audience readings

Dominant Reading          –   Media text interpreted in the way intended by the producer.

Negotiated Reading       – Audience accepts some of the media text but not all aspects

Oppositional Reading    – Audience in conflict with the texts message.

Pros and Cons

Pros –

  • it allows audience to accommodate with different readings and have different opinions

Cons –

  • Everyone isn’t in the same category for example age and gender and therefor will have different opinions.

Audience readings of a media text depends on –

  • Gender (Male/Female)
  • Situated culture (background, upbringing, culture, lifestyle)
  • Age
  • Experience and knowledge