THINKING ABOUT THE MEDIA: A REVIEW OF THEORY AND RESEARCH ON MEDIA PERCEPTIONS, MEDIA EFFECTS PERCEPTIONS, AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES

Douglas M. McLeod, David Wise, Mallory Perryman

Abstract


This review explicates the past, present and future of theory and research concerning audience perceptions of the media as well as the effects that perceptions of media have on audiences. Before the sections that examine media perceptions and media effects perceptions, we first identify various psychological concepts and processes involved in generating media-related perceptions. In the first section, we analyze two types of media perceptions: media trust/credibility perceptions and bias perceptions, focusing on research on the Hostile Media Perception. In both cases, we address the potential consequences of these perceptions. In the second section, we assess theory and research on perceptions of media effects (often referred to as Presumed Influence) and their consequences (referred to as the Influence of Presumed Influence). As examples of Presumed Influence, we evaluate the literature on the Persuasive Press Inference and the Third-Person Perception. The bodies of research on media perceptions and media effects perceptions have been featured prominently in the top journals of the field of mass communication over the past 20 years. Here we bring them together in one synthetic theoretical review.


Keywords


Media Perceptions, Media Effects Perceptions, Media Trust, Media Credibility, Media Bias, Hostile Media Perception, Presumed Influence, Influence of Presumed Influence, Persuasive Press Inference, Third-person Perception

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