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25 November 2009

Limitations of Hypodermic Needle Theory
The central thesis of the Magic Bullet Theory is that individuals cannot
escape or resist media messages. It holds that people remain passive
and accept, rather than investigate, information presented by the
1. This theory suggest a powerful and direct flow of information from
sender to receiver hence, possible hurdles are neglected.
2. It assumes that messages are injected into the heads of passive and
uncritical audiences.
3. It assumes that audiences are immediately influenced by media
messages when they are exposed to.
4. It expresses that media are dangerous means of communication.
5. Audience is considered powerless who cannot resist the message.
6. It assumes that there is no other media outlet for information, in
this way they end up thinking what they are told.
7. It assumes that everyone will be touched by media escaping
8. It neglects interpersonal communication.
9. It considers the communication process as One-way and source
10. It ignores the variation in effects of different kinds of media.
11. Failed to consider audience’s power in choosing uses for media.
12. No empirical observation or research.
Limitations of Limited Effects Model
Limited Effects model says that media rarely have any direct influence
upon individuals. Most people are sheltered from direct manipulation
and that they do not believe everything they read, hear, or watch. This
assumption negates, if not totally contradicts the assumption of mass
society theory that people are isolated and vulnerable from direction
There is a two-step flow of media influence. Media could not influence
people if the opinion leaders who guide them are not influenced by its
messages. By the time most people become adults they have
developed strong group commitments like political party or religious
affiliations that media messages are powerless to overcome. These
commitments make people to reject media messages although other
group members are not present to help them. When media effects
occur, they are modest and isolated. Large number of people will not
change their votes although they are flooded with various media
messages everyday. Its limitations are as under:
1. It suggested that media rarely effects the audiences believing that
media is powerless.
2. It gave the idea of Two-Step Flow of communication but there may
be several and multiple steps in the communication process.
3. Gratification theory approves that users selectively attend to specific
messages from specific media.
4. Surveys can not measure how people actually use media on a day-
to-day basis because they can only record how people report their
media experiences.
5. Surveys are very expensive and cumbersome way to study people’s
use of specific media content like their reading of certain news stories
or their viewing of specific television programs.
6. The research design and data analysis procedures are inherently
conservative in assessing the power of media.
7. Surveys omit many potentially important variables by focusing only
on what can be easily or reliably measured using existing techniques
8. In fact, media were thought relatively powerless in shaping public
9. Other research on Two-step flow produced contradictory findings
depending on (a) types of information being transmitted and (b) social
conditions exist at that particular time. These patterns are constantly
Limitations of Moderate Effects Model
Moderate effects model includes cultivation theory, agenda setting
theory, knowledge gap, and effects of television violence, which shows
that effects of mass communication are more than limited effects.
1. Cultivation theory ignores the complexity of human nature and
relationships in our lives today.
2. Ignores other types of media and considers only television.
3. It is also criticized for oversimplification and faulty cause-and-effect
4. Can only show that media agendas affect some people, on some
issues, some of the time but cannot show what issues will affect what
type of people in which context.
5. According to Knowledge-Gap theory ‘people of higher socioeconomic
status have better communication skills, education, reading,
comprehending and remembering information’ but it is not a usual
practice. People with lower education can have excellent
communication skills. It conveys a sense that in order to be good at
communication might have higher socioeconomic status.
6. There is no empirical evidence that media consumers of higher
socioeconomic status have better knowledge due to media.
7. Agenda setting theory assumed that media sets the agenda while it
may be said that people have some traces of that agenda because an
alien concept is difficult to plant in people’s minds.
8. It takes for granted that media men and compelling news events set
the agenda while many other factors may be involved.
Powerful Effects Model
Spiral of Silence, the Great American Values Test, and NIMH report
revived the powerful effects of mass communication.
1. Spiral of silence is a scientific theory in nature, it theorize that
individuals keep silence when majority is against their notion but if one
person has an opinion and strong conviction he may not ready to bend
in his belief.
2. If I am an opinion leader I am the one who is to voice my opinion
and change the public perception.
3. Noelle-Neumann claims “fear of isolation” is the motivating factor,
but offers little evidence for the connection
4. Attitudes of friends, family, and reference groups are more powerful
than “strangers in an anonymous public”.
5. The Great American Values test claims that media can change even
the values and behaviour of individuals, but it media is so powerful
why there is much diversity.
6. Powerful effects model treats all the individuals at the same level.
7. Powerful effects model is only possible when all the people have
trust in media. If I do belief that media information is not correct I’ll
not change at all.
8. It ignores the selective processes completely.

• Strong Effects: over estimation
• Indirect Effects: over time
• Direct Effects: a myth
• It depends on what the source is…….
• It depends on the audience’s background….
• It depends on the consumers’ beliefs & values
• Not at all? Under estimation

ICS, PU, Lahore