Indirect Effects Theory

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  • A theory of media effects that suggests that the media causes responses in individuals but only as one variable among a variety of intervening influencing variables. Much of the early communications research supported the idea that there was a direct link between a message and a response. These so-called magic bullet or hypodermic needle theories gave way, instead, to more complex models, which suggest that responses can result from media messages indirectly and that environmental circumstances intervene between the message and the response. Katz and Lazarsfeld first introduced the concept of indirect effects with their two-step flow model, which suggested that messages were first relayed to opinion leaders, who, in turn, influenced other individuals. Building on this work, multistep models were developed. Indirect effects became ...

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