Uses and Gratifications
Uses and gratifications is a media user-centered theory of media use and effects. As a media theory, uses and gratifications posits that people choose from among media and other communication channels to satisfy their needs and desires. Such selection and use of communication channels are influenced by communicators’ motives and their social and psychological background characteristics. Further, media users are seen as variably active in their media-use behavior. In short, media effects are seen as the result of the joint influence of media users’ background characteristics, motives, activity, and media selection/exposure working in tandem. This chapter reviews representative literature explaining the central tenets and development of uses and gratifications theory as well as representative historical and contemporary research guided by the theory. Finally, the chapter emphasizes the theory’s continued relevance for studying media use and effects in contemporary society.