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Gerbner’s General Model


Mr. George Gerbner is one of the pioneers in the field of communication research. His works are descriptive as well as very easy to understand any other before. He is working as a professor and head of the Annenberg School of Communications in the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1956, Gerbner attempted the general purpose of communication models. He stressed the dynamic nature of communication in his work and also the factor which affecting the reliability of communication.

(Note: This model can be best understood when read along with the diagram beginning at E – Event.)

(i) Perceptual Dimension:

An ‘E’ is an event happens in the real life and the event content or message is perceived by ‘M’ (Man or a Machine). After Perceives the message from “E” by “M” is known as “E1”. E1 is not same as like ‘E’. Because any man or machine can’t perceives the whole event and they perceives only the part of the event (E1). This is known as “Perceptual Dimension”.

These 3 factors are involves between ‘E’ and ‘M’

  • Selection
  • Context
  • Availability

M (man or machine) cannot perceive the entire content of the event “E”. So M selects the interesting or needed content from the entire event and filtering the others.  The context occurs in the event and Availability is based on ‘M’s attitude, mood, culture and personality. (For eg. How a journalist perceives the messages from the event and also can’t focus the whole event so they filter the unwanted or unrelated content from the event. This filtered content is not same as like the actual event content because the journalist edits the content based on his attitude, mood and cultural background or press policies).

(ii) Means and Controls dimension:

E2 is the event content which is drawn or artified by M. Here M becomes the source of a message about E to send someone else. M creates a statement or signals about the message and Gerbner termed its Form and content as “SE2”. S (Signal or Form) it takes and E2 (Man’s content). Here Content (E2) is structured or formed (S) by ‘M’ and it can communicate in a different ways or based on the structured ways.

M has to use channels (or media) over to send the message which he has a greater or lesser degree of control. The question of ‘control’ relates to M’s degree of skill in using communication channels. If using a verbal channel, how good is he using words? If using the Internet, how good is he at using new technology and words?

This process can be extended to infinitum by adding on other receivers (M2, M3etc.) who have further perceptions (SE3, SE4 etc.) of the statements about perceived events.

Important Note:

Message at every level is altered or changed.


In case of news reporting, E can be any event that has happened and the reporter (M) selects a particular part of event (E1) that may be provide his channel higher TRP ratings or the news may boost the particular party which his channel supports. This SE2 is sent through a medium to the mass audience. Then the audience distributed the message (SE2) and he (M1) sends to his friends with his interpretation and the process continues.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Samuel Rusenga March 13, 2013, 4:32 pm

    Real life scenario

  • gugulethu k nkomoo March 14, 2013, 1:33 pm

    dnt understand the SMCR model of communication

  • remedy chivorese March 16, 2013, 5:30 pm

    it distorts the reality of the communication process

  • lijo August 24, 2013, 1:50 pm

    fine note……..

  • Benjamin Thomas & Tanushri Srivastava October 12, 2013, 3:49 pm

    Awwwwww! :’)

  • Krishnasish September 6, 2014, 4:29 pm

    This Gerbner’s General Model has very nicely described & well explained & also used very simple language.
    It was very helpful. Thanks.

  • Tanmay Ahluwalia October 5, 2015, 9:51 pm

    The model is explained in a simple and interesting way.It helped me a lot to understand the model as it is elaborated in the simplest form. Thankyou !

  • Neha chauhan November 18, 2015, 3:15 pm

    It was not that clarifying….and complete…so,not satisfactory..

  • addy0056 February 14, 2016, 10:35 pm

    Good really help full may god bless u ol

  • student93 March 30, 2016, 6:32 am

    This was not helpful at all….exactly what it had in my text book, minimal information and not explained clearly.

  • Saad April 3, 2016, 8:19 pm

    In very start of this article there is written that George Gerbner’s works are very easy to understand. But there is no need to complicate things then!!

  • Sabysachi Bhattacharjee May 1, 2016, 4:54 am

    a very easy language to understand…..

  • Belay November 28, 2016, 10:46 pm

    And what he supposed to say by ‘context’?

  • Sheheryar Ahmed December 1, 2016, 5:21 pm

    Complex ideas presented in a compress and easy way good job done keep up the good work.
    Hats off

  • Hitesh kapil February 22, 2017, 12:35 am

    Nice explained… I got it…good job

  • Ali H.Forughi July 13, 2017, 8:05 pm

    Excellent.It was very much beneficial .

  • ali October 16, 2017, 2:22 pm

    its not simple rather complicated model

  • prashanth November 29, 2017, 2:26 pm

    nice theory

  • Sebastian April 23, 2018, 2:28 pm

    What is TRP? And please explain culture in relationship to this model.

  • Sanchita Mondal November 9, 2018, 3:54 pm

    Very lucidly explained

  • Bishwaraj Adhikari February 27, 2019, 2:09 pm

    I started to read it…But feel its very nice to understand in every level of student as well as to read, understand and feel easily ….Good luck!

  • Shalini May 23, 2019, 12:06 am

    Helpful though .

    Good work !

  • junithpaida October 5, 2019, 1:50 am

    welldone though some abbreviations are not well explained

  • Pragnya parimita acharya November 30, 2019, 3:53 pm

    Explained clearly . Thanks sir .

  • Khaled Alyami January 5, 2020, 9:03 pm

    Thank you

  • derrick April 21, 2021, 2:18 pm

    This George Gerbner was much interested in defining the 3 factors of communication, therefore his model is not descriptive, Thanks.

  • Peerel Chanu Arambam June 9, 2021, 9:15 pm

    Thank you

  • Gayani November 14, 2022, 10:07 pm

    Thank you so much..its very important

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