Review of Communication Research

MASS COMMUNICATION                                                                                                 

Title & Authors

PSYCHOLOGY OF AGENDA-SETTING EFFECTS. MAPPING THE PATHS OF INFORMATION PROCESSING.

Maxwell McCombs & Natalie J. Stroud
University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA

Highlights


• New research complements the concept of Need for Orientation as a psychological explanation for agenda-setting effects.
• Dual paths of psychological responses to media messages that result in agenda-setting effects are explicated in recent research.
• Need for Orientation and dual psychological paths are extended to attribute agenda setting.
• Need for Orientation, selective exposure, and motivated reasoning are merged in expanded theoretical perspective on agenda setting.

Abstract


The concept of Need for Orientation introduced in the early years of agenda-setting research provided a psychological explanation for why agenda-setting effects occur in terms of what individuals bring to the media experience that determines the strength of these effects. Until recently, there had been no significant additions to our knowledge about the psychology of agenda-setting effects. However, the concept of Need for Orientation is only one part of the answer to the question about why agenda setting occurs. Recent research outlines a second way to answer the why question by describing the psychological process through which these effects occur. In this review, we integrate four contemporary studies that explicate dual psychological paths that lead to agenda-setting effects at the first and second levels. We then examine how information preferences and selective exposure can be profitably included in the agenda-setting framework. Complementing these new models of information processing and varying attention to media content and presentation cues, an expanded concept of psychological relevance, motivated reasoning goals (accuracy versus directional goals), and issue publics are discussed.

Content

A PRELIMINAR Y THEORETICAL MAP

Roles of accessibility and perceived importance in media effects

Historical origins of salience in agenda setting

MAPPING THE DUALITY OF AGENDA SETTING

Experiment one: presentation effects

Experiment two: content effects

Figure 1. Process model for dual agenda setting

Figure 2. Relevance: A theoretical gestalt defined by recent research

EXPLICATING THE CONCEPT OF RELEVANCE

AGENDA CUEING AND AGENDA REASONING

THE AUDIENCE EXPERIENCE

INDIVIDUAL CHOICES OF MEDIA CONTENT

Issue-based information selection and agenda setting

Partisan-based information selection and agenda setting

NEED FOR ORIENTATION & ATTRIBUTE AGENDA SETTING

Figure 3. Need for Orientation: The “simultaneous measurement” model (Camaj, 2012)

Figure 4. A conceptual merger of Kim and Camaj

Figure 5. A comparison of Kim and Camaj’s research findings

AGENDA MELDING

CONCLUSION

Figure 6. A summary of “dual path” agenda-setting research

REFERENCES

COPYRIGHTS AND REPOSITORIES

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Psychology of Agenda-Setting Effects. Mapping the Paths of Information Processing

Maxwell McCombs & Natalie J. Stroud

 

Keywords: Agenda Setting, Attribute Agenda Setting, Public Opinion, Journalism, Motivated Reasoning, Issue Publics, Psychological Relevance, Need for Orientation, Selective Exposure

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How to cite

McCombs, M., & Stroud, N. J. (2014). Psychology of Agenda-Setting Effects. Mapping the Paths of Information Processing. Review of Communication Research, 2(1), 68-93. doi: 10.12840/issn.2255-4165.2014.02.01.003

Keywords

agenda setting, attribute agenda setting, public opinion, journalism, motivated reasoning, issue publics, psychological relevance, need for orientation, selective exposure

Repositories

Repositories where you can find this article:

Internet Archive (Community Texts) @ https://archive.org/details/texts

Academia.edu @ http://independent.academia.edu/ReviewofCommunicationResearch

Social Science Open Access Repository @ http://www.ssoar.info/en/home.html

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