The Third Person Effect In Mass Media

1632 Words7 Pages
In modern society, media use has become an integral part of our daily lives. We use it for information, for entertainment purposes, and for just passing time. When we engage with media, we are constantly bombarded with messages from news, advertisements, and entertainment. When we study mass communications there are many phenomena that we may observe to help us better understand and measure the impact the various types of media messages have on individuals. One of the most well researched and widely accepted theories in mass media is the theory called the Third-Person Effect. The Third-Person Effect is the perception that communications exert a stronger effect on others than it does on oneself. The Third-Person effect is one of the most…show more content…
In the view of those trying to evaluate the effects of communication, its greatest impact will not be on "me" or "you," but on "them-the third persons.” Davison argues that the effects messages have on attitudes and behaviors are not due to the direct impact of the message themselves. Instead, he says, effects are due to the actions of those who anticipate a reaction on the part of others (the third persons) and behave differently as a result. (Perloff, 1999). Research into the Third Person Effect has gained a substantial amount of traction over the last few decades. Since the underlying foundations for the effect have been well established, most of the recent research studies have focused on the underlying processes, conditions, and consequences of the…show more content…
According to most researchers, it’s primarily based on one’s desire to preserve a positive self-image (aka self-serving bias). People are often motivated to make downward comparisons in order to inflate or maintain their own positive self-image. (Gunther, 1991). According to Perloff, there are two major factors that may contribute to the Third-Peron Effect. Judgments of message desirability, and perceived social distance. In other words, the Third-Person Effect is particularly pronounced when the message being received is perceived as undesirable. As predicted, people were found to perceive content that is typically thought to be antisocial (violence, pornography, rap music) to have a greater impact on others than themselves. On the other hand, according to Perloff, when messages are perceived as desirable, people are less likely to exhibit a Third-Person Effect. In fact, just the opposite seems to occur when agreement with the message reflects positively on the

More about The Third Person Effect In Mass Media

Open Document