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Uses and Gratifications Theory

Uses and gratifications theory deals with how audiences use media and posits that audiences play an active role in choosing media for specific purposes. The first studies on the uses and gratification associated with the media emerged in the 1940s, within the framework of research undertaken by the Bureau of Applied Social Research, in New York. One of the most prominent was a 1944 study by Paul Lazarsfeld and Frank Stanton on the motivations of the audience of quiz shows and TV serials. This entry discusses the development of the uses and gratifications theory, several different typologies of the theory that emerged during the 1970s, and subsequent models that recast the theory.

Three main theoretical precedents are usually identified for the theory of uses and gratifications. ...

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