The influence of presumed media influence

Nurit Tal-Or, Yariv Tsfati, Nurit Tal‐Or

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


The influence of presumed media influence (IPMI) is a theory of media effects that suggests that people react not necessarily to media content per se but to their perceptions of how the media affects others. The theory originated from Davison's notion of the third-person effect, describing people's tendency to perceive that others are more strongly affected by media compared to themselves. Later, the IPMI model was more fully articulated and conceptualized as a media effect by Gunther and Storey. Three major categories of presumed media influence are offered: prevention (related to “the impulse to stop or limit the dissemination of an apparently harmful message”); coordination (in order to achieve their goals, people temporarily change their behavior in response to the presumed effects on others); and normative influences (the active acceptance or defiance of deeper and more stable social norms in response to the presumed effects on others). The main methodological issues preoccupying IPMI scholars relate to causality (whether the consequences of presumed influence are truly its consequences or its antecedents) and how to best operationalize the theory's independent variable (as the perceived influence on others, or as the difference between the perceived influence on others and self).
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Media Psychology
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2020


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