Thursday, March 08, 2007

Political Orientation Affects Perceptions for All

Recently, my lab has been investigating the cognitive processes underlying the cultivation effect.
In a nutshell, this effect shows that people who watch a lot of television give higher estimates of crime prevalence (among other things).
One of the qualifiers of the cultivation effect is so-called mainstreaming.
That is, the television portrayal of the social world tends to most strongly affect social perceptions of those with views far from the mainstream. In this line, heavy TV viewing has been shown to bring them into the mainstream.
In this figure that I presented at our brown bag luncheon yesterday, we see little evidence of mainstreaming on crime perceptions. Instead, after statistically controlling for age, sex, income, GPA, and need for cognition, we see little effect of TV across the three political orientations. Nonetheless, the strong main effect of political orientation persists.

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