Primetime Torture: Selective Perception of Media Modeled Efficacy of Torture

by Nathaniel Aaron Silver

Institution: The Ohio State University
Department: Communication
Degree: MA
Year: 2015
Keywords: Communication; Selective Perception, Media Effects, Social Cognitive Theory, Torture
Record ID: 2058511
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=osu1428513408


A three-factor between subjects experiment was conducted to assess the impact of effective and ineffective torture modeled on television on subsequent attitudes and beliefs. Participants viewed one of three video clips depicting torture leading to important, time-sensitive information, torture that failed to acquire said information, or a control condition of equal dramatic intensity, but without torture. Findings demonstrated efficacy to be a strong predictor of attitudes towards torture, however; processing of modeled torture was biased by previous beliefs. Specifically, participants with less supportive attitudes and weaker efficacy beliefs were more influenced by effectively modeled torture.