Mass media influences on bicultural individuals' perceived causality of Middle Eastern individuals' behavior
Research continues to find ways in which the media interacts with perception of reality and the way in which people familiarize with minorities. Consequently, studies have shown that the portrayal of Middle Eastern cultures by the media may be partly responsible for the creation of prejudice, discrimination and the many stereotypes placed on those individuals of Middle Eastern descent. In order to understand how these negative dispositions are created it is crucial to examine how the mass media interacts with cultural knowledge about behavior causality and the way individuals interpret behavior. This study attempted to examine this idea through the utilization of bicultural individual's ability to alternate between two internalized perceptions of the self (i.e., independent and interdependent). It was hypothesized that through the use of media stimuli, bicultural individuals would differ in interpreting the causality of a Middle Easterner's behavior when self-affirmation was manipulated. Secondly, it was also hypothesized that individuals exposed to media stimuli, regardless of self-affirmation, would make more dispositional attributions regarding the behavior of a Middle Eastern individual, than those who were not exposed to media stimuli. Both hypotheses were tested with thirty-two bicultural individuals from the Midwest who were either primed with interdependent or independent self views, and who were either exposed to media primes or not. Results found no significant interaction between self-affirmation, media and race; however, we did find a significant interaction between media, gender and race.
New Mexico State University
Psychology and Criminal Justice
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