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A Multidimensional Approach to the Study of Media Effects
Unformatted Document Text:  22 Combining media effects dimensions into matrices for pedagogical reasons is certainly valuable. However, another valuable reason to combine media effects dimensions into higher-order conceptualizations is to help generate entirely new ideas. For example, earlier it was noted that the terms “short-term” and “long-term” effect are ambiguous and have caused confusion because they have been used to refer both to how long it takes an effect to occur and to how long the effect endures. However, the fact that we believe two dimensions to be related suggests that there may be some value in looking more closely at how they might be related. Windahl and colleagues (1992) did just that. They developed a “typology of short- and long-term effects” based on the time and duration dimensions. By crossing how long it takes for an effect to build up (a short time versus a long time) and how long an effect endures (a short time versus a long time), they produced a four-cell matrix consisting of four possible conditions: (1) long build-up, long-term effect; (2) short build-up, long-term effect; (3) long build-up, short-term effect, and (4) short build-up, short-term effect. Of what value is such a matrix of possible effects? Windahl and colleagues suggested that communication planners might use the typology to understand better their strategies for obtaining both desired and realistic effects. Thus, for someone trying to use mass communication to get others to change their cognitions, affections or behaviors, the ideal condition would be both immediate and enduring change. Windahl and colleagues called this “the planner’s dream: a short-lived communication effort resulting in a lasting effect.” They gave the example of celebrity Rock Hudson’s known status as an AIDS victim. An event of short duration had long-range effects in terms of knowledge and attitudes and perhaps even behaviors.

Authors: Lasorsa, Dominic.
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22
Combining media effects dimensions into matrices for pedagogical reasons is
certainly valuable. However, another valuable reason to combine media effects
dimensions into higher-order conceptualizations is to help generate entirely new ideas.
For example, earlier it was noted that the terms “short-term” and “long-term” effect are
ambiguous and have caused confusion because they have been used to refer both to how
long it takes an effect to occur and to how long the effect endures. However, the fact that
we believe two dimensions to be related suggests that there may be some value in looking
more closely at how they might be related. Windahl and colleagues (1992) did just that.
They developed a “typology of short- and long-term effects” based on the time and
duration dimensions. By crossing how long it takes for an effect to build up (a short time
versus a long time) and how long an effect endures (a short time versus a long time), they
produced a four-cell matrix consisting of four possible conditions: (1) long build-up,
long-term effect; (2) short build-up, long-term effect; (3) long build-up, short-term effect,
and (4) short build-up, short-term effect.
Of what value is such a matrix of possible effects? Windahl and colleagues
suggested that communication planners might use the typology to understand better their
strategies for obtaining both desired and realistic effects. Thus, for someone trying to use
mass communication to get others to change their cognitions, affections or behaviors, the
ideal condition would be both immediate and enduring change. Windahl and colleagues
called this “the planner’s dream: a short-lived communication effort resulting in a lasting
effect.” They gave the example of celebrity Rock Hudson’s known status as an AIDS
victim. An event of short duration had long-range effects in terms of knowledge and
attitudes and perhaps even behaviors.


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