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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
{ 175 comments… add one }
  • Emmah Jojo December 3, 2010, 7:33 am

    Add more flesh for students to understand better.

  • shabnam nisar December 28, 2010, 12:18 am


  • Getnet Tesfamariam April 25, 2011, 4:55 pm

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

  • ojegae emmanuel July 29, 2011, 7:25 pm


  • oti chmivenni July 31, 2011, 4:10 am

    It’s quite interesting to understand communication medels

  • Roxanne Porter August 3, 2011, 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, 7:53 pm

    Great but too shallow.

  • Humphrey August 9, 2011, 8:50 pm

    Good and intresting, but add more flesh

  • Fazil Butt August 16, 2011, 2:13 am

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

  • Muhammad Tayyab September 9, 2011, 11:54 pm

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

  • Belinda Buah September 12, 2011, 5:12 pm

    loudly explained and to understand but where lies feedback.

  • Sulabha Dhavalikar October 10, 2011, 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, 3:13 pm

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

  • M. Riaz Raza October 18, 2011, 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, 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, 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, 11:50 am

    i agree with Potter’s views.

  • Fatima November 1, 2011, 11:51 am

    i agree with Potter’s views

  • Bonphace Babile November 2, 2011, 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, 11:56 pm

    The model is short and clear well explained

  • Sunny Jamez November 22, 2011, 1:59 pm

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

  • Albert Mkisi November 23, 2011, 12:21 am

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

  • abhisweta November 28, 2011, 7:42 pm


  • Kelvin otae December 1, 2011, 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, 6:14 pm

    I need more points. This is too short.

  • salman December 23, 2011, 11:08 pm

    itz too brief

  • Rashidi Abunaya December 31, 2011, 10:26 am

    Very simple and clear

  • Bagege January 4, 2012, 9:43 am

    I appreciate

  • Max January 4, 2012, 7:03 pm

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

  • Raad January 5, 2012, 7:48 pm

    Thanks alot

  • Hlahlani ndhlela January 15, 2012, 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, 6:40 pm

    add more material for students for understand better

  • Adebayo Saheed January 28, 2012, 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, 5:19 pm

    well explained

  • mensah bernard February 22, 2012, 3:59 pm

    brief and concise.love it.

  • ochonogor Theophilus February 26, 2012, 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, 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, 1:28 am

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

  • tshepo aphane April 3, 2012, 3:25 pm

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

  • dorcas Ibrahimu April 25, 2012, 5:13 pm

    the theory is clearly understandable,appreciate it!

  • ruwanji george May 9, 2012, 9:15 pm

    more information need to be added.,but i appreciate

  • kevin ombaso May 27, 2012, 3:45 pm

    contains the very much needed information. keep updating ,chao

  • Lisa Tally June 7, 2012, 8:51 pm

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

  • Adano Sharamo June 8, 2012, 7:45 pm

    mmmmmh,explanations worth checkn

  • john Ngugi June 14, 2012, 1:17 pm

    I think more is needed to added on this

  • Nellie Sabiti Mwangi June 18, 2012, 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, 5:19 pm

    i, agree with lisa TElly

  • Macin Ogarte July 20, 2012, 10:22 am

    thank you…..

  • Macin Ogarte July 20, 2012, 10:22 am

    Muchias Gracias!

  • Hyramol.C.R August 11, 2012, 11:12 am

    I want to write an assignment about this topic plz include some more information

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