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The Problem With Our Attitude: A Conceptual Analysis Of Attitudinal Media Effects Theory And Research

Fri, May 26, 9:30 to 10:45, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 2, Indigo 204B


While studies in the attitudinal media effects literature often focus on comparable empirical questions, they do not always coincide in their theoretical approach. In the present paper, we propose that this tension between empirical similarities and theoretical differences may have fueled recent debates about the meaning and investigation of media effects - in particular, framing, priming, cultivation, and persuasion effects. We argue that these types of controversies could be alleviated if researchers would always specify at what level of scientific analysis they define the attitudinal media effect under investigation, and we provide examples of how this specification could guide theory building and hypothesis testing.