Exploring a Reinforcement Model of Perceived Media Influence on Self and Others

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Perceived Media Influence on Attitudes About Affirmative Action (Survey)Perceived Media Influence of Multiple News Issues and of Media Violence (Experiment)Perceived Media Influence on Attitudes about US Presidential Election (Examining Question Order). Perceived Media Influence on Attitudes Abo

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Exploring a Reinforcement Model of Perceived Media Influence on Self and Others

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1. Exploring a Reinforcement Model of Perceived Media Influence on Self and Others Mary Beth Oliver Penn State University

2. Perceived Media Influence on Attitudes About Affirmative Action (Survey) Perceived Media Influence of Multiple News Issues and of Media Violence (Experiment) Perceived Media Influence on Attitudes about US Presidential Election (Examining Question Order)

3. Perceived Media Influence on Attitudes About Affirmative Action Hyeseung Yang, Srividya Ramasubramanian, Jinhee Kim, Sangki Lee Background Studies of 3rd-person perceptions often assume or assess perceived media influence that is uni-directional.

4. Examples: Media Violence Public Service Announcements Sexist/Misogynist Music Advertising Interpretation: “Magic Bullet” heuristic of media influence on others Other Media Topics? Affirmative Action War in Iraq Alternate Interpretation: “Reinforcement” heuristic

5. “Bi-Directional” Media Issues False Consensus Hostile Media Persuasive Press False Consensus: Perceptions of Others’ Existing Attitudes/Dispositions Hostile Media: Perceptions of Media Coverage Persuasive Press: Perceptions of Others’ Vulnerability to Media False Consensus: Perceptions of Others’ Existing Attitudes/Dispositions Hostile Media: Perceptions of Media Coverage Persuasive Press: Perceptions of Others’ Vulnerability to Media

6. Motivation for Study Examine Perceived Media Influence for “Bi­Directional Issue” Explore the Role of Existing Attitudes as Moderators of Perceived Media Influence Reinforcement Heuristic Message-Attitude Consistency Tendency to report perceptions of stronger media influences on the self when the message is consistent with existing attitudes. Assimilation Bias Tendency to perceive media messages as consistent with existing attitudes (e.g., Vidmar and Rokeach). Reinforcement Heuristic Do people perceive that media reinforce existing attitudes/dispositions? Message-Attitude Consistency Tendency to report perceptions of stronger media influences on the self when the message is consistent with existing attitudes. Assimilation Bias Tendency to perceive media messages as consistent with existing attitudes (e.g., Vidmar and Rokeach). Reinforcement Heuristic Do people perceive that media reinforce existing attitudes/dispositions?

7. Method: Survey Sample: N = 473 Convenience sample of Non-Students 34% State College; 44% PA; 22% NY, NJ 59% Female; 41% Male Age: 18 – 88; MD = 38 82% White; 6.6% African American 38% Democrat; 40% Republican

8. Measures Attitudes Toward Affirmative Action in Higher Education

9. Self-reported and Estimates of Others’ Attitudes -4 (SD) ------------------------------ 0 ------------------------------ 4 (SA) I am (most people are) in favor of affirmative action in higher education. 2. (Most people believe that) Affirmative action is unfair to White applicants. 3. (Most people think that) Affirmative action benefits all students by increasing diversity. 4. (Most people think that) Affirmative action leads to unqualified minority students being admitted to college. 5. (Most people think that) Affirmative action is one good way to deal with racial discrimination. 6. I am (most people are) opposed to a university considering an applicant’s race in the admission process.

10. Perceptions of National News Coverage -4 (Never) --------------------------- 0 --------------------------- 4 (Frequently) Affirmative action in higher education is a good thing. 2. Affirmative action policies are unfair to White applicants. 3. Affirmative action benefits all students by increasing diversity. 4. Affirmative action leads to unqualified minority students being admitted to college. 5. Affirmative action is one good way to deal with racial discrimination. 6. Universities should NOT consider an applicant’s race in the admission process.

11. Measures Attitudes Toward Affirmative Action in Higher Education Self-reported Attitudes Perceptions of Others’ Attitudes Perceptions of News Coverage

12. Self­Reported Attitudes ­0.49 1.92 .86 Perceptions of Others’ Attitudes ­0.52 1.41 .79 Perceptions of Media Coverage 0.52 1.34 .73

13. Perceptions of Media Influence

14. Results

15. Perceived Media Influence on Self vs. Others 2 (Media Influence: Self, Others) x Self­Reported Attitudes x Others’ Estimated Attitudes Media Influence: Within Subjects Self and Others’ Attitudes: Continuous

16. Media Influence (Self, Others) x Self­Reported Attitudes F(1, 435) = 31.70, ?p2 = .07, p < .001 For illustration, self­reported attitudes split into “anti” and “pro.” Anti < -1: N = 251 Pro > 1: N = 166

18. Media Influence (Self, Others) x Self Attitudes x Others’ Attitudes F(1, 435) = 4.00, ?p2 = .01, p < .05 For illustration, self and others’ attitudes split into “anti” and “pro.”

24. Conclusions Pre­existing attitudes (self and other), appeared play an important role in affecting both the magnitude and direction of media influence, and hence in the extent to which third­person perceptions are or are not observed. Do people have use a “reinforcement heuristic” when estimating media influence?

25. This study does not address why people may perceive reinforcement (e.g., assumed media exposure, ego-enhancement) Individuals’ own attitudes strongly correlated with estimates of others’ attitudes: r = .53

26. This study does not address why people may perceive reinforcement (e.g., assumed media exposure, ego-enhancement) Individuals’ own attitudes strongly correlated with estimates of others’ attitudes: r = .53 The data are correlational The data examine only one media topic

27. Perceived Media Influence of Multiple News Issues and of Media Violence Method Participants: N = 212 Convenience sample of college students 52% Female; 48% Male Age: 18 – 38; MD = 21

28. Design: News Issues 3-Way Within-Subjects Experimental Design Hypothetical viewers described as anti, neutral, and pro to three news topics Affirmative Action, War in Iraq, Animal Testing (counterbalanced with viewer attitudes)

33. Design: News Issues 3-Way Within-Subjects Experimental Design Hypothetical viewers described as anti, pro, and neutral to three news topics -News topics: affirmative action, war in Iraq, animal testing (counterbalanced with viewer attitudes) Design: Media Violence 3-Way Between-Subjects Experimental Design Hypothetical viewer described as aggressive, non-aggressive, or neutral.

38. Measures Self-reported attitudes/dispositions Estimates of Others’ attitudes/dispositions Affirmative Action, US in Iraq, Animal Testing (Anti) -4 ------------------------------ 0 ------------------------------ 4 (Pro) Aggressiveness (Non-Aggressive) -4 ------------------------------ 0 ------------------------------ 4 (Aggressive)

39. Perceived Media Influence on Self and Others Affirmative Action, US in Iraq, Animal Testing Aggressiveness

40. Results Analysis of News Stories Data collapsed across others’-attitudes conditions Others Anti (AA, Iraq, Animal) Others Neutral (AA, Iraq, Animal) Others Pro (AA, Iraq, Animal) Within each others’-attitudes condition 2 (Media Influence: Self, Others) x Self­Reported Attitudes

41. Media Influence (Others, Self) x Self-Reported Attitudes Interactions Others Anti: F(1, 209) = 29.42, ?p2 = .12, p < .001 Others Neutral: F(1, 210) = 77.82, ?p2 = .27, p < .001 Others Pro: F(1, 209) = 71.52, ?p2 = .26, p < .001 To illustrate the interaction, self-reported attitudes trichotomized Anti < -1; Neutral -1 to 1; Pro > 1

49. Analysis of Media Violence 2 (Media Influence: Self, Others) x 3 (Others’ Disposition) x Self-Reported Disposition Media Influence x Others’ Dispositions Interaction F(2, 206) = 47.77, ?p2 = .32, p < .001

58. Perceived Media Influence on Attitudes About US Presidential Election Motivating Question Is “reinforcement” heuristic exacerbated by priming people to think of self/others’ opinions?

59. Method (Telephone Survey) Participants: N = 380 (rr = 33%) Random sample of Centre County PA Residents, US Citizens 58% Female; 42% Male Age: 18 – 86; MD = 47 Political Affiliation: 54% Dem; 43% Rep; 13% Indep/Other

60. Measures Self/Others’ Political Attitudes (Very Liberal) -2 ---------------- 0 ---------------- 2 (Very Conservative) Media Coverage (Fav. to Kerry) -2 ---------------- 0 ---------------- 2 (Fav. to Bush) Perceived Media Influence on Self/Others (Fav. to Kerry) -2 ---------------- 0 ---------------- 2 (Fav. to Bush)

61. Design (Question Order)

62. Results (Spearman’s Correlations)

63. Results (Spearman’s Correlations)

64. Results (Spearman’s Correlations)

67. Summary When judging media influence, people seem to assume reinforcement of existing attitudes/behaviors. Differences in perceived media influence on self vs. others are exacerbated when self and others are perceived as holding different attitudes/dispositions (implications for 3rd person). Perceptions of how self/others are affected by media may serve as an indicator of perceptions of self/others.

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