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Researchers have frequently considered the role performed by communications media in the maintenance and, at times, revision of societal norms. To the extent that the media either dictate or influence social consensus in behavior, opinion, or speech, they may be regarded as normative. However, the actual influence of normative media is far from certain.
Psychological research has illustrated that individual persons in situations of uncertainty tend to be swayed by group opinion. Studies have even demonstrated that some people will go along with a group even when doing so contradicts the clear evidence of their senses (Asch 1955, 1956). It has therefore been theorized that the mass media, with their power to communicate focused messages to huge audiences, possess the ability to influence individual behavior by ...