Theories of media exposure

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In today's society every individual is overwhelmed by different types of media. Studying the decision making process has led to the Theories of Media Exposure.

Specific Theories[edit]

Uses and Gratifications Theory[edit]

One of the most popular theories, Uses and Gratifications Theory, is based on users actively attempting to satisfy their media needs. Elihu Katz is often credited with being one of the original creators of this theory. This theory states that an individual will choose the media or form of media that will satisfy their desires most completely. There are a number of different desires involved with this theory, such as a desire for information or social interaction. When seeking to fulfill these desires, an individual will need to make a decision. This decision making process if the primary interest for the theorists. When comparing social networking websites, it is simply a matter of preference at the time. However the decision making process becomes more convoluted when deciding between watching a movie, playing a game online, or reading a newspaper. The same fundamental principle applies however, the person will make the decision based on what brings the most gratification.[1]

Social Learning Theory[edit]

Social Learning Theory, similar to Uses and Gratifications Theory, is based on the gratification of an individual, but differs in that it is based more on behavior rather than decision making. Albert Bandura is said to be the forerunner of this theory. Each individual will make decisions based on anticipation. There is a heavy reliance on previous experience knowing what leads to gratification and what will not. If one receives joy from watching comedies, then an individual will seek out comedies in the future. If horror films leave a person with nightmares then they will most likely attempt to avoid them. This theory also states that the experience of others can be used in the decision making process. If a family member recommends a book then an individual is more likely to pick up the book and read it themselves. This theory does address more thoroughly media avoidance than does Uses and Gratifications Theory.[2]


  1. ^ Straubhaar, Joseph., LaRose, Robert., & Davenport, Lucinda. (2010). "Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology."
  2. ^ Straubhaar, Joseph., LaRose, Robert., & Davenport, Lucinda. (2010). "Media Now: Understanding Media, Culture, and Technology."

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