Communication Theories Essay

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Introduction The history of mankind is that of communication. As communication becomes increasingly important to the shaping of social development, the study in this field has long been fostered. Although the term communication is frequently used in public and the academia, the definitions of it vary. The most common understanding of communication is the act of transmitting information from one person to the other. In the academic world, however, communication involves at least four major issues: “who says what to whom to what effect”. Each way of communication may create a distinct concept to call ‘information transmitter’ and ‘information receiver’. In this essay, ‘information transmitter’ can be used interchangeably with media, informant and the source; and audience can be used for ‘information receiver’. Based on these four aspects, there are many areas for communication theorists to explore. In terms of the nature of the media and the relationship between audience and media, the three most authoritative theories are propaganda theory, cultivation theory, and use and gratification theory. This essay will first examine the historical developments of these three theories, their main assumptions and arguments. It then discuss the application of the gratification theory to the contemporary world where internet and social networks are playing significant roles in communication. The Three Communication Theories The relationship between the information receiver and the media is one of the most important aspects in communication discipline. While cultivation theories attach the importance of the source to the shaping of the receiver’s perception and idea, gratification theory makes counter-argument, saying that the audience have their own viewpoints in specific issues and they select the source to satisfy their information needs. Propaganda theory: The

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