Fundamentals of Media Effects:  by Jennings  Bryant, Susan  Thompson, Bruce W. Finklea
410 pages, $65.95 list
Instructors' resource materials are available here.
To obtain a username and password to access these materials, contact

New edition coming soon!
Fundamentals of Media Effects
Second Edition
Mass media’s potential to influence audience beliefs and behavior is a subject that has long fascinated scholars and the general public. The ongoing interest and concern are reflected in the common tendency to blame “the media” for many of society’s problems. This extensively revised and updated edition cuts through popular notions of presumed effects to provide a balanced, informed, up-to-date treatment of the media effects literature. The clear, compelling presentation, illuminated by dozens of new photographs, equips readers with a fundamental understanding of the history, theoretical underpinnings, and current status of media effects research—knowledge that will help them navigate in a media-saturated environment.

Several outstanding elements distinguish the Second Edition of Fundamentals of Media Effects. New chapters explore the impact of computer/video games, the effects of the Internet and social networking sites, and the way mobile communication devices have transformed the way we live. An extensive new chapter on children’s educational television describes the considerable body of research that supports positive effects like language development and flexible-thinking skills. Framing studies are covered in a separate chapter where they are distinguished both theoretically and experimentally from agenda setting and priming. Finally, the authors provide overviews of classic and current research studies in an invaluable feature called “Research Spotlight,” which enable readers to envision how theories translate into research.
"This text does a masterful job of surveying the varied elements and histories of media effects research." - Jennifer Fogel, State University of New York, Oswego

“The book is superb. I can’t recommend it highly enough.” — James Robinson, University of Dayton

“I like the comprehensiveness of theories in the text. It is clearly written, interesting to read, and has up-to-date examples as well as a good student price.” —Reed Smith, Georgia Southern University

“A proven, state-of-the-art overview of current thinking in media effects. It is an accessible but detailed book appropriate for undergraduates.” —Bruce Drushel, Miami University

“Nice update! I like the organization of the material.” —Glenn G. Sparks, Purdue University
Table of Contents

1. Understanding Media Effects
Processes of Communication / Communication Models / Measuring Media Effects / Other Research Methodologies of Media Effects / Importance of Studying Media Effects

2. Media Effects: Historical Overview
Historical Concern for Media Effects / Historical Evidence for Changes in Behavior and Opinion Due to Mass Media

3. History of the Scientific Study of Media Effects
Nineteenth-Century Beginnings / The Notion of Powerful Effects / The Notion of Limited Media Effects / Effects of Varying Levels / Some Pioneers in Media Effects Research / Future of Effects Research


4. Social Cognitive Theory
Distinctly Human Traits / Observational Learning and Modeling / Effects of Modeling / Learning from Media Content and Modeling / Social Prompting or Persuasion / Diffusion by Way of Symbolic Modeling / Recent Research

5. Priming
Activation of Priming / Conceptual Roots / Variables That Enhance Priming Effects / Research Tradition / Recent Research

6. Agenda Setting
Conceptual Roots / Research Tradition / Recent Research

7. Framing
Framing Theory / Effects of Framing / Frame Building and Frame Setting / Types of Frames / Recent Research in Framing

8. Cultivation
The Cultural Indicators Project / Concepts and Criticisms / Theoretical Bases for Cultivation / Recent Research

9. Uses and Gratifications
Societal-Level Functions of the Mass Media / Models to Explain Uses and Gratifications / Uses and Gratifications Research: A Brief History / Criticisms of Uses and Gratifications / Recent Research

10. Persuasion
Research Tradition / Attitude, Emotions, Behavior, and Persuasion / Persuasion Models / Models That Link Attitudes and Actions / Recent Research


11. Effects of Media Violence
Media Violence Research and Public Policy: History and Future / Media Violence Research Methods / Measuring Violent Content / The Psychological Impact of Media Violence / New Directions for Media Violence Researchers

12. Media Effects from Sexual Content
The Nature of Sexual Content / The Extent of Sexual Content in the Media / Effects of Exposure to Highly Explicit Sexual Content / Importance of the Prevailing Tone / Impact of Exposure to Sexually Violent Material / More on Behavioral Effects of Pornography: The Study of Sex Offenders

13. Reactions to Disturbing or Frightening Media Content
The Study of Fright / Explanations for the Appeal of Fright / Measuring Fright / Reasons for Fear Reactions to Media Content / Age and Gender Differences / Strategies for Coping with Fear

14. Political Communication Effects
Influences on Political Communication / Micro-Level Political Communication Effects / Macro-Level Political Communication Effects / Factors Influencing Media Effects

15. Media Effects on Health
Research Findings / Health and the Internet / Health Communication Campaign Effects

16. The Effects of Stereotyping
Minority Portrayals in Entertainment: A Look Back / Media as Conveyors of Social Information: The Current Picture / Characteristics of Audiences / Gender Stereotyping / Media Effects of Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Stereotyping

17. Effects of Children's Educational Television and Infant/Toddler Edutainment
Educational Television / Infant and Toddler Edutainment

18. Effects of Computer and Video Games
Negative Effects of Violent Video Games / Video Game Addiction / Positive Effects of Video Games / Uses and Gratifications of Video Games / Future Research

19. Effects of the Internet
Evolution of the Internet and Birth of the World Wide Web / What Do We Do When We Log On? / Effects of Internet Use

20. Effects of Mobile Communication
The Birth of the "Brick" / Effects on Social Coordination / Effects on Relational Communication / Effects on Youth Culture / Effects of Texting / Private Use in Public Space