1. Focuses attention on the environment in which effects can and can’t occur
  2. Stresses importance of opinion leaders in formation of public opinion
  3. Is based on inductive rather than deductive reasoning
  4. Effectively challenges simplistic notions of direct effects


  1. Is limited to its time (1940s) and media environment (no television)
  2. Uses reported behavior (voting) as only test of media effects
  3. Downplays reinforcement as an important media effect
  4. Uses survey methods that underestimate
  5. media impact
  6. Later research demonstrates a multistep flow of influence

Mass Communication Theory: Foundations, Ferment, and Future, Sixth Edition Stanley J. Baran and Dennis K. Davis

Paul Lazarsfeld

Elihu Katz

Opinion Leader

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