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Two-Step Flow Model of Communication

The two-step flow model of communication is a theory of limited media effects formulated in 1948 by Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet in the book The People's Choice, after research into voters' decision-making processes during the 1940 U.S. presidential election. The two-step flow model of communication stipulates that mass media content first reaches “opinion leaders,” people who are active media users and who collect, interpret, and diffuse the meaning of media messages to less active media consumers. According to the authors, opinion leaders pick up information from the media, and this information then gets passed on to less active members of the public. This implies that most people receive information from opinion leaders through interpersonal communication rather than directly from mass media, as ...

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