Communication 450

Mass Media Effects

Elizabeth M. Perse, Ph.D.

Mass Media Effects is a required course for Communication majors in the mass communication concentration. Communication 370, Theories of Mass Communication is a prerequisite for this course. Students will generally enroll in this course in their senior year.

Media and their content can have effects on individuals, society, and culture. The goal of this course is to examine different types of media effects, considering especially the processes that enhance these effects. We will focus on the effects of news, instruction, advertising, and entertainment programming. Students will become more aware of media influence, develop critical consumption skills, and be aware of the role of communication research in public policy.

The course material begins with an examination of the importance of studying media effects. We then consider four basic models that direct the field's thinking about effects. These models direct focus on various specific media and audience variables. Students apply these models to understand various theoretical explanations for media effects. The primary goal of the course is to understand how to enhance positive effects and mitigate negative effects.