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MCAT Psychology Question — Limited Effect Theory

J. Edgar Hoover wrote an article titled “How Safe is your Daughter?” for American Magazine in 1947, including text that “degenerate sex offenders” were responsible for the “most rapidly increasing type of crime.” Along with other a few other highly publicized sex-crimes committed against minors, the effect caused one-third of surveyed Americans to conclude that “prison is too good for sex criminals.” The social response to the media portrayals is best described as:

A) limited-effects

B) class-dominant

C) moral panic

D) oversimplification





Limited-effects theory states that people choose to watch or read based on what they already believe: media affects the audience in a limited way. Class-dominant theory states that media projects and reflects the views of a controlling minority elite. Oversimplification is a result of time restrictions on mass media communications; making information faster and more digestible for audiences often leads to “dumbed-down” social issues and other concerns. A moral panic results when media exaggerates reports on deviant groups leading to hostile reactions.

A) limited-effects, incorrect, In this case, people were caused to react in a hostile fashion towards exaggerated media reports.The effect was not “limited.”

B) class-dominant, incorrect, Although some elites did frame the media debate and control it, the social response was not class-dominant.

C) moral panic, correct.

D) oversimplification, incorrect, Although the strong language and imagery oversimplified the problem, this does not correctly classify the social response to the media portrayal.


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