Discuss the functions of communication as given by Harold Lasswell.

Harold Lasswell maintains that there are four functions of communication in human society. Though they are more towards Mass Communications, still they are applicable to all types of human communication.

Surveillance of the Environment:

This include gathering of information. In terms of Media, as we all know that proper watch has been kept on all important and unimportant events by the media. In fact, we consider them our eyes and ears and also through media we also convey our feelings and opinions over certain issues. In common man’s life gather information which is of his/her use is surveillance of environment. Like the housewife collected all information about the stuff she wished to purchase from different shops.

Correlating or Interpreting the Information:

Whatever information is accumulated, we interpret and analyze it and also discuss the pros and cons of the information. Every person presents his/her views on the event. This forms the basis of public opinion and also educates the public. In the given situation after gathering the information the housewife correlates the information collected by her on the household stuff she wanted to purchase and only after analyzing all the information she makes her decision to purchase the stuff

Transmission of Information:

Spread of information or socialization. Media provide a common information on an event and try educate the public. In this case media play a role of an educator. The information provided by media help in shaping social attitudes and political decisions. Transmission of information has been very vital in today’s social and political scenario. In the situation presented to us earlier, the role of an educator is being performed by the housewife when she shares the information gathered by her to all her family and friends.


In the field of Mass Media, entertainment is considered as its synonym. It is a major element of the media today. All programs whether educational, social or even a political discussion, one factor that dominates in conceiving and producing is the presence of entertainment quotient. The entertainment provided by the media provides some peace from otherwise a hectic life and its harsh realities. The entertainment maybe in the forms of sports, games, music, variety shows, movies and drama etc.


Another important function of communication is to persuade others. Media has a very powerful impact of the society. It has the capability to influence public and their attitude. They can bring about a change in their behaviour. Media brings a wave of new thoughts and changes in the society by way of changing old customs and outdated traditions with modem and new ones. This is not intentionally done but happens unconsciously.

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