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Uses and Gratifications Theory

  • By: Michael Basil
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

By the 1950s media researchers were moving away from the notion that the mass media are powerful enough to indoctrinate a passive audience. Instead, research suggested that the audience was an active part of that process. Researchers started to study how people use media. One of the basic questions was why people chose to watch or listen to what they did. One of the best-known approaches to that question is Elihu Katz, Jay Blumler, and Michael Gurevitch's uses and gratifications theory. Uses and gratifications theory explains that people have needs and seek out media content to fulfill those needs.

The original formulation of the theory credited early communication researchers, including Bernard Berelson, Herta Herzog, Paul Lazarsfeld, Frank Stanton, Edward Suchman, Katherine Wolfe, and Marjorie Fiske, for ...

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