Manifest functions result from a wide range of social behaviors, although they are most usually described as the results of social institutions including as family, church, school, and the media, as well as social policies, laws, regulations, and conventions. Consider the social institution of schooling. Schools include an administrative staff, teachers, and students. The behavior of the staff and their actions toward the students are examples of manifest functions.
In addition to these obvious examples, there are also less apparent ones that you might not have thought of. For example, newspapers report on events that happen during our daily lives. They do this by interviewing people who were present at those events and by reporting on the decisions that various officials made with respect to those events. This is also an example of a manifest function - informing us about what happens in the world.
Another example would be the function of protecting its citizens. Governments police themselves and other governments to ensure that conflicts don't break out and wars don't start. They also protect their citizens by enforcing immigration and naturalization laws, providing emergency services, and conducting health inspections. Again, this is manifesting itself through behavior rather than ideas or beliefs.
Finally, consider the function of marriage. Marriage has been defined as a legal contract whereby two individuals enter into an exclusive relationship that shall remain intact for as long as they both live. This is certainly an idea, but it's more than that too.
Manifest functions are the acknowledged and planned outcomes of any social structure, whereas latent functions are those that are undetected and unintended. We acknowledge diverse social institutions' intended effects for the operation of society as a whole. For example, marriage is said to have both manifest and latent consequences for individuals.
The concept of latent effects was first proposed by Thomas Hobbes in his book Leviathan (1651). He argued that "the ordinary course of human actions does not immediately appear upon the creation of any thing, but that after a while the effect of it will be seen." In other words, there are unobserved consequences of social arrangements that become apparent only over time.
Hobbes's idea has been developed further. John Locke also believed that societies' current practices often result in consequences that are not intended by their creators. Like Hobbes, he argued that people cannot foresee all the effects of their actions so they should not be held responsible for them.
In addition to these two early philosophers, modern scholars have also studied latent effects. Latent effects are said to exist because some participants in social structures may want these unplanned results to occur. For example, someone might join a marriage without thinking about how this action would affect its future stability or happiness of the individuals involved.
Manifest functions are the media's easily seen and intended outcomes. Latent functions, on the other hand, allude to unexpected or difficult-to-observe consequences. Media effects can be positive or negative; they may increase or decrease feelings, thoughts, or behaviors.
The three main manifest functions of mass media are information, entertainment, and education. Information refers to the dissemination of facts or ideas. Entertainment involves the use of music, film, and other forms of art for pleasure. Education aims to help individuals improve themselves by exposing them to different ways of thinking and learning.
Other manifest functions include persuasion, inspiration, social change, and marketing. These are discussed in detail under topics such as propaganda, celebrity culture, and product placement.
Media effects can be positive or negative. They may increase or decrease feelings, thoughts, or behaviors. Positive effects include knowledge acquisition, personal development, and leadership training. Negative effects include entertainment addiction, violence, sexualization, and obesity. Overall, media influence people by communicating values and ideals that are relevant at a particular time. This communication can be indirect, such as through symbolism, or direct, such as through news reporting.
Latent functions are functional outcomes that are neither planned nor acknowledged by the participants of the social system in which they occur. The purposes of a form of social activity that are understood and intended by the persons engaging in the activity are referred to as manifest functions. Latent functions include such things as accidental benefits, side effects, and concomitants. Manifest functions include goals and intended results of actions.
Robert Merton developed this concept while studying the behavior of organisms within their environmental contexts. He argued that an organism's every action is motivated by a balance between its current set of needs and desires and those of other individuals in its social group. An act that satisfies one need or desire but creates another will be chosen only if it serves to enhance overall fitness. In other words, acts that benefit the actor individually will tend to be followed by others who benefit him too; acts that harm the actor individually will do the same. This means that all behaviors have both direct and indirect consequences; some beneficial, others detrimental. A behavior that has no apparent consequences is called a "latent" function because it is not visible to the actor himself yet still influences his life.
Merton used this concept to explain why certain beneficial behaviors appear in certain individuals but not others. For example, he noted that females of many species preferentially feed and groom offspring of other females; this behavior is called "allomaternal care".