ERIC Number: ED180002
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Jun-1
Reference Count: 0
Activation Theory and Uses and Gratifications Research.
Tate, E. D.
Uses and gratifications research involves a critical appraisal of conceptual and theoretical issues in mass communication and is concerned with what audience members do with the media. Activation theory understands people as active manipulators of their environment. (Activation refers to that level of psychological and physiological excitement an individual habitually seeks. This level fluctuates during the day in a predictable pattern.) The two perspectives appear to be complementary in that both understand that people seek stimulus from the environment. Activation theory helps overcome the criticism that uses and gratifications research does not stipulate why people use the media by noting that the media are a part of the environment providing a variety in activities, information to help in understanding the world and self, and activities of various intensities. Since, as activation theory holds, one seeks to maintain an activation level within the customary level, the media provide activities to allow the lowering of a level that has become too high and the increase of a level that is too low. Instead of simply reacting to media content or of being manipulated by that content, activation theory and uses and gratifications research maintain that people use the media to meet their own needs. Uses and gratifications research in the future would be strengthened by some consideration of activation as the source of media usage. (FL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Response; Media Effects
Note: Paper presented at the Canadian Communication Association Conference (Saskatoon, Canada, June 1, 1979)