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Title:Street fight video exposure, affective response, racial judgments, and criminal sentencing recommendations: A study on non-fictional and non-news mediated violence
Author(s):Weeks, Kristopher Robert
Director of Research:Dixon, Travis L
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dixon, Travis L
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Tewksbury, David H; Althaus, Scott L; Vargas, Patrick
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Street fight
affective-cognitive domain
grounded theory
media effects
criminal sentencing
cognitive bias
social identity theory
affective disposition theory
racial identity
multiculturalism, ethnocentricity, self-assurance, ethnic racial salience
Abstract:Street fight videos (SFVs) pervade online media platforms such as YouTube. Yet SFVs have evaded rigorous academic study. Spurred by racial tensions in the United States, I propose a theoretically grounded and original model, the media affect-alignment bias model (MAAB-M) to investigate the affective and cognitive effects of interracial SFV exposure. MAAB-M aims to contribute to media researchers’ theoretical and practical approach to investigating intergroup conflict media across varying contexts. MAAB-M predicts viewers’ affective responses to SFV exposure will influence their racial ingroup identification levels and, in turn, their criminal punishment recommendations for racial outgroup SFV fighters. The model is informed by several social scientific theories referenced by media, identity, and social cognition scholars. Via social identity theory, exposure to racial outgroup SFV fighters will prime threat cognitions. Depicted racial outgroup victories will reinforce threat cognitions. Additionally, via disposition theory, viewers will affectively align (or emotionally attach) themselves to SFV fighters of their own race and vilify racial outgroup fighters. Both theories support the notion that exposure to racial ingroup victories will increase viewers’ positive affective states. Likewise, exposure to racial outgroup victories will increase viewers’ negative affective states. Increased positive affect is predicted to increase viewers’ desire to enjoy cognitive rewards related to their racial ingroup identification, leading to an increase in viewers’ racial ingroup identification. Increased negative affect is predicted to increase viewers’ need to mitigate perceptions and feelings of threat toward their group identity, also leading to an increase in their racial ingroup identification. MAAB-M also predicts that increased racial ingroup identification will increase viewers’ negative perceptions of racial outgroup SFV fighters, leading viewers to recommend increased criminal sentencing recommendations for these fighters. Within the MAAB-M model, cultivated fear, SFV enjoyment, group-level affect toward outgroups, and heuristic and systematic cognitive processing modes are considered. Three studies comprise this dissertation. First, a qualitative focus group study explores the validity of MAAB-M’s conceptual approach to SFV study. Afterward, two experiments assess SFV exposure effect via moderated mediation analyses. Ultimately, the studies found that exposure to interracial SFVs led to decreased self-assurance. In turn, multicultural inclusion tendencies increased for White undergraduate students. Also, multicultural inclusion tendencies decreased ethnocentric and ethnic-racial salience tendencies in Black and White adults nationwide. Additionally, increased cultivated fear reduced the negative relationship between SFV exposure and self-assurance in the national adult sample. The findings suggest that the concepts of self-assurance, multicultural inclusion tendencies, ethnocentricity, and ethnic-racial salience should inform future SFV studies.
Issue Date:2020-10-06
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Kristopher Weeks
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12

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