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How to Improve Attitudes toward Disliked Groups: the Role of the Media, Specific Messages, and Visual cues

How to Improve Attitudes toward Disliked Groups: the Role of the Media, Specific Messages, and Visual cues

Intergroup tensions have reached troubling levels. In the US, Americans express strong dislike for ideological others, and ethnic relations are one of the most challenging issues of the century. In Europe, growing tensions surround immigration, especially immigration from majority Muslim countries.

 

26.10.2016

 

 How to Improve Attitudes toward Disliked Groups: the Role of the Media, Specific Messages, and Visual cues 

Magdalena Wojcieszak, Ph.D. Associate Professor from Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam, presented last october 26, some of her studies on political communication, public opinion, and the effects of mass and new media on citizens’ attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions. 

Intergroup tensions have reached troubling levels. In the US, Americans express strong dislike for ideological others, and ethnic relations are one of the most challenging issues of the century. In Europe, growing tensions surround immigration, especially immigration from majority Muslim countries. 

How to attenuate these tensions? How to improve people’s attitudes toward groups that they personally dislike? As importantly, how to promote openness to Western European values and norms among people who are not open to these values and norms? 

Dr. Wojcieszak focused on the media, which – after all - offer the primary opportunity for encounters with personally disliked groups. She presented her recent work from the US, Spain, the UK, and the Netherlands to show how

(a) The media coverage influence attitudes toward outgroups.

(b) Specific types of media messages. Where there are numerical and narrative messages, which have stronger effects on people's attitudes? her study will conclude that narratives are more effective than numeral messages but that most media messages we see are predominantly visual.

(c) Subtle visual cues included in media messages impact individual outgroup attitudes, feelings and perceptions. People have a possitive attitude toward their own group. Ingroup cues should enhance positive reactions to the message and the protagonist.

In particular, her publications include journal articles and edited volumes on deliberation and political disagreement; psychological biases that engender extreme views; sociopolitical factors that mobilize people to action; and how social networks, public opinion perception, and media use influence polarization, tolerance, knowledge and political participation. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Communication, Public Opinion Quarterly, Political Communication, Communication Research, Political Psychology, New Media & Society, and the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, and other journals.

To contact her: magdalena.wojcieszak@uva.nl

 

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