Harold Dwight Lasswell (February 13, 1902 — December 18, 1978)


Harold Dwight Lasswell, the American political scientist states that a convenient way to describe an act of communication is to answer the following questions

  • Who
  • Says What
  • In Which Channel
  • To Whom
  • With what effect?

Lasswell Model of Communication

This model is about process of communication and its function to society, According to Lasswell there are three functions for communication:

  1. Surveillance of the environment
  2. Correlation of components of society
  3. Cultural transmission between generation

Lasswell model suggests the message flow in a multicultural society with multiple audiences. The flow of message is through various channels. And also this communication model is similar to Aristotle’s communication model.

In this model, the communication component who refers the research area called “Control Analysis”,

Says what is refers to “Content Analysis”,

In which channel is refers to “Media Analysis”,

To Whom is refers to “Audience Analysis”

With What Effect is refers to “Effect Analysis”


CNN NEWS – A water leak from Japan’s tsunami-crippled nuclear power station resulted in about 100 times the permitted level of radioactive material flowing into the sea, operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Saturday.

Who – TEPC Operator

What – Radioactive material flowing into sea

Channel – CNN NEWS (Television medium)

Whom – Public

Effect – Alert the people of japan from the radiation.

Advantage of lasswell model:

  • It is Easy and Simple
  • It suits for almost all types of communication
  • The concept of effect

Disadvantage of lasswell model:

  • Feedback not mentioned
  • Noise not mentioned
  • Linear Model

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Emmah Jojo December 3, 2010 at 7:33 am

Add more flesh for students to understand better.

shabnam nisar December 28, 2010 at 12:18 am


Getnet Tesfamariam April 25, 2011 at 4:55 pm

it is good it gives the general idea but it’s very short.

ojegae emmanuel July 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm


oti chmivenni July 31, 2011 at 4:10 am

It’s quite interesting to understand communication medels

Roxanne Porter August 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm

The content of the message should be transmitted through the appropriate medium in such a way that, according to Lasswell, the recipient is then persuaded to adopt the view of the communicator. One of Lasswell’s main interests as a political scientist was the use of propaganda and its effect.

Florence August 3, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Great but too shallow.

Humphrey August 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Good and intresting, but add more flesh

Fazil Butt August 16, 2011 at 2:13 am

Thanks, nice way of explaining. Feedback 100% ve. I like it. Keep contributing the same way.

Muhammad Tayyab September 9, 2011 at 11:54 pm

so nice and simple, we can understand very easily. thanks

Belinda Buah September 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm

loudly explained and to understand but where lies feedback.

Sulabha Dhavalikar October 10, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Kindly explain what exactly you mean by Linear model? I will grateful for the reply, as I am still not getting a clear picture.
Sulabha Dhavalikar

Goden Marume October 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm

This is the best explanation. writing a news story intro is now easier.

M. Riaz Raza October 18, 2011 at 11:02 am

I dont agree with the point of view of Mr. Porter that Lasswell interested in propaganda and its effects because Lasswell did not mention feedback. Therefore, no effect can be measured without a proper feedback of the audiences. Although at early stages of studying the communication processes he did explore effects of the message but the model has defficiencies in itslef.

nathan nayere October 18, 2011 at 10:11 pm

We need a little more of critique of the Lasswellian model than narrating or res-stating the usual facts. Otherwise the simple explanation best for those undertaking introduction to masscommunication theories or those seeking to refresh. Kudos

Muguta October 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Lass well was not a fool to have forgotten feedback and noise because these two do not necessarily apply in every aspect of communication for example i may use non verbal cues in communication which the receiver understands (no noise) and they may not give me the feedback. but i have derived the massage.

Fatima November 1, 2011 at 11:50 am

i agree with Potter’s views.

Fatima November 1, 2011 at 11:51 am

i agree with Potter’s views

Bonphace Babile November 2, 2011 at 12:19 am

the model of laswell is so convincing but at that stage of with what effects can termed as feedback.

Aloyce David November 17, 2011 at 11:56 pm

The model is short and clear well explained

Sunny Jamez November 22, 2011 at 1:59 pm

This is a very short model,but with a great impact.

Albert Mkisi November 23, 2011 at 12:21 am

This is the best explanation i ever seen, so nice and simple we students can understand easily.

abhisweta November 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm


Kelvin otae December 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Very brief and to the point.it clearly indicates the source(Who) the information(What) the carrie(Channel) the recipient(Whom) and the result(Effect).absolutely its complete.kudos

Beatrice December 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I need more points. This is too short.

salman December 23, 2011 at 11:08 pm

itz too brief

Rashidi Abunaya December 31, 2011 at 10:26 am

Very simple and clear

Bagege January 4, 2012 at 9:43 am

I appreciate

Max January 4, 2012 at 7:03 pm

This is a very to short model,but with a great results

Raad January 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Thanks alot

Hlahlani ndhlela January 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm

A challenging school of thought yet to be challenged. May I have more of this on my email!

Wish you a prosperous 2012

umm-e-hani saher January 23, 2012 at 6:40 pm

add more material for students for understand better

Adebayo Saheed January 28, 2012 at 12:20 am

It’s quite interesting but, it’s too complicated for me to understood, bcos i’m new in mass communication & i’ll really appreciate if you can enlighten me more on this topic called COMMUNICATION PROCESS… Thanks

misheck February 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm

well explained

mensah bernard February 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm

brief and concise.love it.

ochonogor Theophilus February 26, 2012 at 12:44 am

Although Lasswell’s model identifies the message as an element in the process, it fails to include non-verbal messages thus over looking a very important body of signals available to a sender during communication.

robinwanyoike February 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

the theory is good but he should have came up with other ideas.it is like all the models have same thing

emmanuel mootsepur March 14, 2012 at 1:28 am

the model is good &implicit but try to more advantages &disadvantages

tshepo aphane April 3, 2012 at 3:25 pm

it is to short and i needed more information but thank you for the given information

dorcas Ibrahimu April 25, 2012 at 5:13 pm

the theory is clearly understandable,appreciate it!

ruwanji george May 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm

more information need to be added.,but i appreciate

kevin ombaso May 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm

contains the very much needed information. keep updating ,chao

Lisa Tally June 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm

State the difference between Aristotle’s model n Lasswell’s

Adano Sharamo June 8, 2012 at 7:45 pm

mmmmmh,explanations worth checkn

john Ngugi June 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I think more is needed to added on this

Nellie Sabiti Mwangi June 18, 2012 at 10:17 am

Wow, I now don’t need to turn the library upside down looking for Laswell’s comm model! Thanx

yonas June 19, 2012 at 5:19 pm

i, agree with lisa TElly

Macin Ogarte July 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

thank you…..

Macin Ogarte July 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

Muchias Gracias!

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