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date: 29 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the progression of mass media effects research from early preoccupation with attitude change through minimal effects paradigms to the current resurgence in persuasion research. Implications of contemporary changes in the media environment on media effects research are considered. After surveying and classifying definitions of media effects, the chapter discusses how fundamental transformations in the media environment brought about by information technology may work to reshape scholarly understandings of the relationship between news sources and audiences. The availability of multiple sources makes it possible for consumers to be more selective in their exposure to news programs. Selective exposure means that people with limited interest in politics may bypass the news entirely, while the more attentive may tailor their exposure to suit their political preferences. Both these trends imply a weakening of persuasion effects.

Keywords: agenda setting, source credibility, inadvertent audience, attitude change, message acceptance, priming, framing, selective exposure

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