The selective filter model of audience effects (Klapper 1960) holds that media messages pass through three filters before they have an effect.
This is an active audience model which suggests that the audience do not just passively accept what they see in the media as ‘the truth’, as the hypodermic syringe model suggests.
According to this theory the three filters are:
- selective exposure
- selective perception
- selective retention
Different groups are exposed to different media content, which will influence the effect the media can have on them.
Audiences actively choose what to watch, which is influenced by their interests, age, gender, education etc.
Censorship may also deny some groups access to certain content, thus denying them exposure. An example of this is with age-graded media content which parents might prevent their children from watching.
Audiences may reject some of the content they are exposed to, for example because what they see does not fit in with their view of the world.
Festinger (1957) argued that people actively seek out media content which affirms their already existing views of the world.
Finally, content has to stick for it to have an effect.
Audiences are more likely to remember content they agree with.
Adapted from Chapman et al: Sociology AQA A-level Year 2 student book