The Effects Model/ Hypodermic
It is said that the consumption of media texts has an
effect or influence upon the audience and this is usually
seen in a negative way.
The audience are passive and powerless, the power
lies with the message of the text.
The Model says that the messages in the media texts
are injected into the audience by a powerful, syringe-like
source (the Media). The audience can’t resist it and
so it turns into an addiction.
A Frankfurt School in 1920s and 30s came up with the
idea that mass media was used to control audiences
and benefit capitalism.
Another experiment called Bobo Doll Experiment,
showed that children copied that violent behaviour that
they see in the media.
However, it was concluded that there were no clear link
between violent media content and behaviour.
But the Effects Model does contribute to Moral Panics.
Uses and Gratifications Model
This model opposes the Effects Model as it states that
the audience is active and they use it, the text doesn’t
The audience use the texts for their own gratifications
and pleasure and, therefore, they have the power.
The audience is then free to reject, use or play with
Audience use media to gratify needs for; diversion,
escapism, information, pleasure, comparing
relationship and lifestyles with one’s own and sexual
Audience is in control and helps with issues such as;
learning, emotional satisfaction, help with issues of
personal identity, social issues, aggression and
The uses and gratifications model can be helpful rather
than harmful in the case of consumption of violence as
the audience can get out their violent impulses through
the media. Therefore, they are less likely to commit
Stuart Hall from Birmingham University came up with
the Reception Theory in 1970.
He said that the media texts are encoded with
meanings or messages by producers and then
decoded (understood) by audiences.
Sometimes audiences will decode the message and
understand. Sometimes audiences will reject or fail to
Three types of decoding;
Dominant – decodes and agrees
Negotiated – refines elements of the text – they are
disinterested and neither agree, nor disagree.
Oppositional – decodes and rejects for cultural, political
or ideological reasons.