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Mediating Factors

Christiane Eilders


Subject Psychology
Communication Studies » Communication Reception and Effects

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Extract

Mediating factors are the psychological and social conditions in the communication process that moderate the effects of persuasive mass communication. The concept was first introduced by Joseph T. Klapper in his influential book The effects of mass communication (1960) . Sifting through empirical studies available in the late 1950s, Klapper identified five mediating factors that explain why media messages tend to reinforce rather than change existing attitudes. The consideration of moderating variables in media effects research marks a shift from the hypodermic needle or →  stimulus–response model to the stimulus–organism–response model (→  Media Effects ). Klapper developed the concept of mediating factors in his review of the state of the art in media effects research. According to the empirical evidence, minor change, short of conversion, occurs far less frequently than reinforcement , and conversion is particularly rare. Klapper (1960) concluded that “mass communication ordinarily does not serve as a necessary and sufficient cause of audience effects, but rather functions among and through a nexus of mediating factors and influences.” Mediating factors were thus conceptualized as integral elements of this nexus that typically contribute to reinforcement rather than change or conversion of existing attitudes. Klapper supported his claims with empirical evidence from a wide ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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