The impact of stereotypical versus counterstereotypical media exemplars on racial attitudes, causal attributions, and support for affirmative action

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96 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines how exposure to media characters of color shapes viewers' opinions of race-targeted policies. Exemplar-based information processing, attribution theory, and heuristic policy decision-making formed the theoretical foundation for the study. A 2 × 2 factorial experiment (N = 363) exposed participants to stereotypical or counterstereotypical exemplars representing the in-group (Whites) and the out-group (Blacks). The experiment revealed that exposure to stereotypical African American media characters compared to exposure to counter-stereotypical ones influenced real-world beliefs of African American stereotypes, internal attributions for perceived failures of this out-group, prejudicial feelings toward this out-group, and lack of support for pro-minority affirmative action policies. A structural model established "internal attributions for out-group failures" as a crucial mediator. Implications for entertainment studies and political communication are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-516
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Research
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • exemplars
  • experiment
  • racial attitudes
  • stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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