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Knowledge Gap Hypothesis

The 1970s marked the formalization of the knowledge gap hypothesis, developed by Philip J. Tichenor, George A. Donohue, and Clarice N. Olien, known as the Minnesota team, which proposed that the segments of a population that have higher socioeconomic status (SES) tend to acquire information flowing from the media at a faster rate than do segments with lower status and that the gap in knowledge between these segments tends to increase rather than decrease over time. The knowledge gap hypothesis does not suggest that the lower-SES population segments remain completely uninformed, but that the growth of knowledge is relatively greater among the higher-SES population segments. These gaps in knowledge between high-SES and low-SES populations can lead to what scholars such as Kasisomayajula Viswanath and John ...

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