Gerbner’s General Model

in Communication Models,Mass Communication


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.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Samuel Rusenga March 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Real life scenario

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

dnt understand the SMCR model of communication

remedy chivorese March 16, 2013 at 5:30 pm

it distorts the reality of the communication process

lijo August 24, 2013 at 1:50 pm

fine note……..

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

Awwwwww! :’)

Krishnasish September 6, 2014 at 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 at 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 at 3:15 pm

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

addy0056 February 14, 2016 at 10:35 pm

Good really help full may god bless u ol

student93 March 30, 2016 at 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 at 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 at 4:54 am

a very easy language to understand…..

Belay November 28, 2016 at 10:46 pm

And what he supposed to say by ‘context’?

Sheheryar Ahmed December 1, 2016 at 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 at 12:35 am

Nice explained… I got it…good job

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