Hypodermic Needle Theory

Adriana Vasseur
2 min readJan 10, 2022

The Hypodermic Needle Theory (Magic Bullet) simply speaks for itself. This theory focuses in on how messages are delivered. It is said to be exactly like a magic bullet by injecting the message into the minds of audiences and seeing how they react. The meaning behind this theory is that the media has complete control over us, by being able to control what we view and listen to.

This theory has been shown to have negative affects on an audience. It shows the public as vulnerable, by being able to listen and absorb to the message that is constantly being sent to them and then creates this uniform way of thinking. This theory studies that there is no other possible form of receiving media, that media is simply injected into the minds of people.

But, a “People’s Choice” study done in 1940 did show that not all messages are injected into people, only a few. This study shows that people are more influenced by interpersonal communication rather than the media feeding them information.

In 1938, there was a case study done by Orson Welles called The War of the Worlds on Halloween night. In this episode, there was a sudden “breaking news” that interrupted the epsiode which caused widepsread of panic. This supports what the Magic Bullet theory comes to tell us, but later studies revealed that there was no actual data of how much of a widespread of panic there was throughout the country.

In theory, I believe that we as a society are absorbed and somewhat can be controled by what the media is telling us. So I do, in fact, agree with this theory. But, every person receives and reacts to media information differently. I feel like I am resistant to the media messages to a certain extent. For example, hearing news on the radio will not immediately get me convinced. I would have to further research the topic to come to a conclusion on my opinion.

I feel as though, because of studies done such as The World of War study, there is no way to actually prove whether we as a society are heavily controlled by media. Nowadays, we consume media so easily right at our fingertips that it would be difficult to understand how much of it is actually controlling society.