This course explores the influence of the mass media on the social world, particularly the media's impact on audiences. We will investigate various approaches utilized to determine if, when, and how media influence viewers, listeners, and readers. We will examine this issue from both scientific and cultural studies perspectives. Some of the questions we will consider include: How does television violence impact society and individuals? Can watching sex on television and film lead to teenage promiscuity? Are political advertisements and news coverage creating a more or less informed voter? How do people make sense of the media in their lives? The focus of this course is to understand how these questions are studied and what, if any, conclusions can be drawn from such research.