Bandura – Media Effects Theory



What is the theory?

An audience can be influenced by media products which can lead to copy cat behaviour. For example, watching a violent film can make someone act in a violent manner.

What is the advanced version?

The media can influence people directly – human values, judgement and conduct can be altered directly by media modelling. Empirical evidence best supports direct influence rather than the alternative models of media effects: two-step flow, agenda-setting, no effects, or the media reflecting existing attitudes and behaviour.

Media representations of aggressive or violent behaviour can lead to imitation.

The media may influence directly or by social networks, so people can be influenced by media messages without being exposed to them. Different media have different effects. The ‘new’ media offer opportunities for self-directedness.


Consider the following media. To what extent have producers encoded meanings within their products and which actions would they wish their audience to take?



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