POLS 120 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Bernard Berelson, Paul Lazarsfeld, Anuja Iyer

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12 Mar 2018

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NOTE TAKER: Anuja Veeraghanta
CLASS/SECTION: POLS120, Section 1, MW 11:30AM
Two-Step Flow
Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet in The People’s Choice, a 1944
study focused on vote choice in US election campaign.
o Looking for direct influence of media instead found informal, personal contacts
were mentioned far more frequently than exposure to radio or newspaper as
sources of influence.
Katz and Lazarsfeld then developed the two-step flow theory of mass communication in
Personal Influence (1955).
o Opinion leaders play close attention to the mass media and its messages.
o Opinion leaders pass on their interpretations with the actual media content.
Political Communication
A subfield of political science (research on sources and processes of influence on
publics, policymakers, institutions, organizations)
Wide array of data and methods include:
o Election surveys
o Public opinion polls
o Analysis of information contents,
otet aalysis
o Uses and effects (ex. news, ads, images)
What is the purpose of what I watched?
How long will that stay in my mind?
o Lab and field experiments
Lab: quite literally in a lab
Field: out in the real word
Many theories and hypotheses drawn from political science, communication, social
psychology, sociology to study information uses and effects.
Two relevant theories:
o Two-step flo theory: People’s Choie 1944 Lazarsfeld, Berelso, Gaudet,
Personal Influence 1955 (Katz, Lazarsfeld).
o Agenda-setting theory: Lipmann 1922, Cohen 1963, McCombs and Shaw 1972,
Iyengar and Kinder 1987
Agenda Setting (AS)
…tells us ot hat to think, but hat to thik aout Cohe’s The Press ad Foreig
Policy (1963)
Importance of issues or topics in the news.
AS: what is salient in the news becomes salient in public opinion.
Since 1960s, hundreds of studies shown support drawing on a variety of methods.
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