Joe, Lauren and Rachel
Hypodermic Needle Theory
If the media were to tell you that we were going to be invaded by
aliens.. Which source of media would you believe and why? Put them in
Television (News Broadcast)
Newspaper (On the front page)
A Radio Broadcast (Interruptions into Capital, Radio 1, Viking etc)
A headline of Google homepage
Word of mouth
5 minutes to do this task!!
It's an outdated theory of communication that suggests that an
audience is helpless to the effects and messages of a medium, such
as television. The theory says that an audience will absorb all of the
intended information; they will unknowingly believe anything they
see. This theory was very popular in the 1930s, especially after H.G.
Wells' "War of the Worlds" broadcast in 1938, but has since been
disproven by more modern theories.
Due to the knowledge being very slim in the 1930’s compared to
now you can comply with the fact the information was taken in so
easily, however a weakness of the theory now is that people have
built opinions before they have been given the information to take
in, therefore this theory isn’t as strong as it used to be.
MAGIC BULLET OR HYPODERMIC NEEDLE
THEORY OF COMMUNICATION
In mid-1930’s media scholars found the first theory
on Media Effects and the Media Behaviors. During
second world wars media plays a vital role in both
United States and Germany to made influence in the
people’s mind. The Germany Hitler’s Nazi used film
industry for Propaganda and they produced lots of
movies about their achievements which made a great
impact in Germans mind. Later the United States also
used its own Hollywood and produced films like “Its
Happened one night”, “It’s a wonderful life” and Mr. Smith
goes to Washington” to portrait Germany as Evil force
which also made impact in Americans Mind. Here media
audience accepts the messages directly without any r
In 1930, Newly formed mercury theater and Orson Wells join
together and created a fake news bulletin about aliens invasion
in American city called Grover’s Mill, New jersey. They
broadcast this news bulletin in between the radio program
called “The War of the Worlds”. The “Panic Broadcast” was
reached merely 12 million American people and one million
were seriously believed. Due to this broadcast the whole
country was in chaos.
Before televisions people sat in front of their radios and listened to
music, news reports, plays and various other programs for
entertainment. On Sunday, October 30, 1938 at 8 pm American
actor, producer and director spoke into a microphone during his CBS
radio program. The broadcast begun with an announcer letting
America know that the broadcast will be aired out through various
stations throughout America.
The ‘war of the worlds’ broadcast begun when millions of radio
listeners were shocked when radio news alerts announced the arrival
of Martians. They panicked when they learned of the Martians'
ferocious and seemingly unstoppable attack on Earth. Many ran out of
their homes screaming while others packed up their cars and fled.
After a weather report faded in, stating that it came from the
Government Weather Bureau. The official sounding weather report
was quickly followed by "the music of Ramon Raquello and his
orchestra" from the Meridian Room in the Hotel Park Plaza in
downtown New York. However the broadcast was all done from the
studio, but the script led people to believe that there were
announcers, orchestras, newscasters and scientists on the air from a
variety of locations.
During the interview they tell the audience that Professor
Pierson had just been handed a note, which was then shared
with the audience. The note stated that a huge shock "of almost
earthquake intensity" occurred near Princeton. Professor
Pierson believes it might be a meteorite.
Another news bulletin announces, "It is reported that at 8:50
p.m. a huge, flaming object, believed to be a meteorite, fell on a
farm in the neighbourhood of Grovers Mill, New Jersey, twentytwo miles from Trenton.“
Do you believe?
This led America to believe every bit of information that was being
‘injected’ into them as they didn’t know any different as the
radio, at the time, was there information and only live news
provider. This relates to the Hypodermic Needle Theory and backs
up the theory as it communicates the message of media shooting
messages at you which you feel you have to believe. (Which the
This relates to todays live broadcasts, if we was to wake up in
morning and find out from Daybreak that a meteorite was about to
hit Hull, would you believe it or not?
Subconsciously, you would believe it as we know nothing different
and believe everything the news project out at us and publicise in
masses. An Example of this happening recently is the story such
as ‘December 21st was the day the world was to end’.
How many of you had a guilty belief that the world was about to
end on this day?
The Payne Fund
The Payne Fund Studies, which were conducted between 1929-1932
looked at the effect movies have on children, also contributed to this idea
that the mass media has a powerful and direct influence on audiences.
Although these studies have been criticised for their lack of scientific
rigor, they were really one of the first and most comprehensive
examinations of how the media works. Writing about the influence of
movies, the project chairman WW Charters wrote that they have the
potential to profoundly affect the way children behave. Even in the
1930s, however, researchers were starting to realise that this way of
thinking about media influence was kind of inadequate.
The Payne Fund
The Payne Fund were a private foundation who although got criticized as
lacking scientific rigor they were politically significant. There were a total of
13 studied financially supported by The Payne Fund, each study fell into one
of three main categories of research: film content, audience
composition, and effects on children. This became the foundation of the
studies people undertake on this object today.
At the time sources were limited for research and movies were seen as a
“The experience of sitting in the movie theatre activated multiple senses unlike
other media at the time, such as radio or newspapers, which are dominated by
only one sense. Also, during this post-war period, there was a continued "legacy of
fear" of the power of the media to influence the masses. The controlling power
behind propaganda had recently been exposed, and was still fresh in many minds.
Finally, this was a time of a perceived erosion of moral standards. Children, who
regularly attended the movies unsupervised during the Saturday matinee, were
seen at risk from the influences of this powerful medium. The unknown effects of
movies (a new technology) on the next generation frightened many grownups, and
researchers set out to discover the truth about movies and children.”
Effects Of Video Games
99% of young boys and 91% of young girls play video games
50% of young boys and 14% of young girls prefer ‘mature’ games such as
Grand Theft Auto
Cheryl Olson – Health specialist at Harvard did a study on effects of video
games on children.
She did find some positives in that games promote self
expression, role, creative problem solving, positive interactions and
leadership. However the negatives out way those positives in that it reduces
empathy, promotes aggression and creates a moral panic from panic.
Olson also found that 31% of gamers strongly agree that guns and other
weapons motivates their gameplay. 36% of gamers strongly agree that video
games help get their anger out.
However I don’t think an eleven year old would go on the street, steal a car
because it’s better than the one he’s already got, then go to a shop and shoot
someone and steal their money because that’s what they’ve just done on a
video game, personally I can’t see that happening.