media effects

History and Orientation

Much attention in agenda-setting research, in the 80’s, was focused on the concept of priming. This concept was derived from the cognitive psychological concept of priming.

Core Assumptions and Statements

Priming refers to enhancing the effects of the media by offering the audience a prior context – a context that will be used to interpret subsequent communication. The media serve to provide the audience with standards and frames of reference. Agenda-setting refers mainly to the importance of an issue; priming tells us whether something is good or bad, whether it is communicated effectively, etc. The media have primed the audience about what a news program looks like, what a credible person looks like, etc.

Conceptual Model

Not applicable.

Favorite Methods

Experiments, panel studies, cross-sectional field studies.

Scope and Application

News mass-media


To be added.


Key publications

  • Cappella, J.N., Fishbein, M., Hornik, R., Ahern, R.K., & Sayeed, S. (2001). Using theory to select messages in antidrug media campaigns: Reasoned action and media priming. In:Rice,
  • R.E. & Atkin, C.K. (Eds.), Public communication campaigns (214-230). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Domke, D., Shah, D.V., & Wackman, D.B. (1998). Media priming effects: accessibility, association, and activation. Communications abstracts, 21( 6).
  • Scheufele, D.A. (2001). Agenda-setting, priming, and framing revisited: another look at cognitive effects of political communication. Communication abstracts, 24(1).

See also: Agenda-Setting, Framing
See also Mass Media, Communication Processes, Public Relations, Advertising, Marketing and Consumer Behavior.