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Counter-stereotypical media messages and the reduction of implicit stereotype about women
One of the pro-social effects of mass media is identified as ?stereotype reduction?. Recent studies on the malleability of implicit stereotypes suggest that exposure to counterstereotypical images has an effect on the reduction of implicit stereotypes. This research examines the viability of this claim by priming individuals with counterstereotypical media messages from television and films. 3 Female portrayal (sexy stereotype / nurturing stereotype / counter stereotype) X 2 Media type (news / entertainment), plus a control group was undertaken factorial experiment. One hundred and seventy five undergraduate participants were randomly assigned to one of the 7 conditions. Participants assigned to the experimental groups watched media clips corresponding to their assigned conditions. After watching media clips, participants were asked to complete the IAT (Implicit Association Test). Two different types of the IAT measured implicit stereotypes toward women. One measured stereotypes of women as sex objects and the other measured stereotypes of women as nurturing family caregivers. Findings revealed a main effect for female portrayals. Participants who viewed counterstereotypical women in media clips produced a significantly lower score on the IAT measuring implicit female stereotypes than those who watched either stereotypically sexy women or those who watched stereotypically nurturing women. Also, the findings suggest that participants who were exposed to counterstereotypical media messages drawn from the news shows reported the lowest scores on the IAT. These scores were significantly lower than those of participants in a control group. Findings of this study suggest that if counterstereotypical portrayals of women were more accessible in our current media environment, viewers may experience a reduction of stereotypical attitudes. Specifically, the data suggest that counter-stereotypical content in news shows may be an effective way to weaken implicit stereotypes of women. These findings contribute to the literature on pro-social effects of media.
counterstereotype; the reduction of implicit stereotypes
dissertation or thesis