Bullet Theory

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  • An early theoretical model of media effects that presumes that the mass media fire messages like bullets and all individuals are susceptible to these powerful messages in the same way (also called magic bullet theory). This is also sometimes called the hypodermic needle theory, where, metaphorically, messages are injected like drugs. Although it seemed strange to presume that all individuals would react the same way to a message, theorists argued that the creators of the messages wanted people to get particular messages. Therefore, despite the varying backgrounds and social influences of the individuals, there would still be some consensus on the interpretation of the message.

    Although the roots of the bullet theory are often attributed to Lasswell, who looked at the effects of World War I ...

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