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

Lasswell developed the model in 1948 to analyze mass communication and the effect of media propaganda in various countries and businesses. 

The best way to model Communication is through a series of questions.

  • Who
  • Says What
  • In Which Channel
  • To Whom
  • With what effect?
Lasswell Model of Communication

According to Lasswell, there are three functions for communication:

  • Surveillance of the environment
  • Correlation of components of society
  • Cultural transmission between generation

(While I understand this categorization of the functions of communication, I reduce the functions of communication to only two: Relationship building and Transactional.)

Lasswell’s model builds on Aristotle.

Lasswell adds channels to the model.

He also adds a thing called “Control Analysis”

  • Says what – refers to “Content Analysis”
  • In which channel – refers to “Media Analysis”,
  • To Whom – refers to “Audience Analysis”
  • With What Effect – refers to “Effect Analysis”

(This is very important. We could break down the 


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 OperatorWhat – 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