"Hypodermic needle theory"/Magic Bullet Theory
The "hypodermic needle theory" implied mass media had
powerful effect on its audiences.
The mass media in the 1940s and 1950s were perceived as a powerful influence on behavior change.
Several factors contributed to this "strong effects" theory of communication,
The fast rise and popularization of radio and television
The emergence of the persuasion industries, such as advertising and propaganda
eg. focused on the impact of motion pictures on children, and
Hitler's monopolization of the mass media during World war II to unify the German public behind the Nazi party
Core Assumptions and Statements
1.The theory suggests that the mass media could influence a very large group of people directly and uniformly by ‘shooting’ or ‘injecting’ them with appropriate messages designed to trigger a desired response.
2.This theory (a bullet and a needle) suggest a powerful and direct flow of information from the sender to the receiver.
3.The bullet theory graphically suggests that the message is a bullet, fired from the "media gun" into the viewer's "head".
4. The hypodermic needle model suggests that media messages are injected straight into a passive audience which is immediately influenced by the message.
They express the view that the media is a dangerous means of communicating an idea because the receiver or audience is powerless to resist the impact of the message.
There is no escape from the effect of the message in these models. The population is seen as a sitting duck and passive. They are seen as having a lot media material "shot" at them. People end up thinking what they are told because there is no other source of information.
Media theorists have classified the "War of the Worlds" broadcast as the archetypal example of the Magic Bullet Theory.This is exactly how the theory worked, by injecting the message directly into the "bloodstream" of the public, attempting to create a uniform thinking.
The effects of the broadcast suggested that the media could manipulate a passive and gullible public, leading theorists to believe this was one of the primary ways media authors shaped audience perception.