Knowledge Gap Hypothesis:
This theory is concerned mainly with “information” and “knowledge” and emphasizes that knowledge is not distributed equally throughout society.
There are haves and have-nots with regard to information just as material wealth Information is very important in our society because any developed country depends on well-informed citizens.
It appears certain that information will be even more important in the future as we move into an increasingly technological age.
Many contemporary issues will require information and an informed public for the solutions for such issues.
Role of mass communication:
* One of the great promises of mass communication is that it provides people with information they need.
* It has the potential of reaching people who have not been reached by other means (poor and undeveloped people).
One example of an effort to use mass communication to provide information to the disadvantaged is the “educational TV program” Sesame Street (which combined information with entertainment for preschool Children.).
Other mass communication efforts that have the advantage of getting information to people usually not reached
is the televised presidential debates that might take the presidential election campaigns to people who would not normally be exposed to the campaign.
The attempts to increase people’s quantities of information from mass media might have some unexpected or undesirable effects.
This undesirable possibility is that mass communication might actually have the effect of increasing the gap in knowledge between members of different social classes. This possibility is called: “ Knowledge gap Hypothesis”.
The authors of Knowledge Gap Hypothesis:
• § The Knowledge Gap Hypothesis was first proposed in 1970 by Tichenor, Donohue and OLien. Mostly, it is known as Tichenor et al or Tichenor and his colleagues’ hypothesis.
Tichenor et al . Stated the KG Hypothesis as follow:
“As the infusion of mass media information into a social system increases, segments of the population with higher socio-economic status tend to acquire this information at a faster rate than the lower status segments, so that the gap in knowledge between these two segments tend to increase rather than decrease”.
The hypothesis predicts that:
• § People of both high and low socioeconomic status will gain in knowledge because of the additional information, but that persons of higher socioeconomic status will gain more.
• § This would mean that the relative gap in knowledge between the well-to-do and less well-off would increase.
Tichenor and his colleagues suggest that:
The K. G. is particularly likely to occur in such areas of general interest as public affairs and science news. It is less likely to occur in more specific areas that are related to people’s particular interests-areas like sports or garden care.