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A Multidimensional Approach to the Study of Media Effects
Unformatted Document Text:  14 Lazarsfeld himself also recognized this.) Secondly, Katz said he “would make explicit that the individual is not the only social unit affected by mass communication.” (Lazarsfeld’s matrix focused only on effects on individuals.) For example, an entire nation could be the “unit” affected by a media stimulus. Thirdly, Katz added “the social context of reception” to the four media stimulus attributes that Lazarsfeld had identified. For example, Sesame Street may affect children differently if they watch it alone or with their parents. While Katz modestly suggested that these are merely “amendments” to Lazarsfeld’s matrix, they actually produce a considerably more elaborate framework. Katz’s resulting “map of media effects” consists of five facets. First is “the nature of the effect,” whether change or reinforcement. Second is “the object of the effect,” whether opinion or social structure. Third is “the unit affected,” whether individual, group or nation. Fourth is “the time-frame of the response,” whether short run or long run. Fifth is “the active ingredient, or attribute, of the medium,” whether content, technology, ownership or situation of contact. Only the fourth and fifth dimensions derive directly from Lazarsfeld’s matrix. Katz simplified Lazarsfeld’s time dimension from four to two categories. For Lazarsfeld’s communication type dimension, Katz combined the single unit and the general type into one category (which he labeled “content”) and he added the “situation of contact” category. The result is a five-dimensional matrix with 96 cells. It might look like this:

Authors: Lasorsa, Dominic.
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14
Lazarsfeld himself also recognized this.) Secondly, Katz said he “would make explicit
that the individual is not the only social unit affected by mass communication.”
(Lazarsfeld’s matrix focused only on effects on individuals.) For example, an entire
nation could be the “unit” affected by a media stimulus. Thirdly, Katz added “the social
context of reception” to the four media stimulus attributes that Lazarsfeld had identified.
For example, Sesame Street may affect children differently if they watch it alone or with
their parents.
While Katz modestly suggested that these are merely “amendments” to
Lazarsfeld’s matrix, they actually produce a considerably more elaborate framework.
Katz’s resulting “map of media effects” consists of five facets. First is “the nature of the
effect,” whether change or reinforcement. Second is “the object of the effect,” whether
opinion or social structure. Third is “the unit affected,” whether individual, group or
nation. Fourth is “the time-frame of the response,” whether short run or long run. Fifth is
“the active ingredient, or attribute, of the medium,” whether content, technology,
ownership or situation of contact.
Only the fourth and fifth dimensions derive directly from Lazarsfeld’s matrix.
Katz simplified Lazarsfeld’s time dimension from four to two categories. For
Lazarsfeld’s communication type dimension, Katz combined the single unit and the
general type into one category (which he labeled “content”) and he added the “situation of
contact” category. The result is a five-dimensional matrix with 96 cells. It might look
like this:


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