Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type

Chapman access only poster or presentation

Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2015

Faculty Advisor(s)

Riva Tukachinsky


In today’s society, the media has the ability, with the help of framing and gatekeeping, to manipulate public perception of a person or event. This study, loosely generated by the controversial twitter trend, #IfTheyGunnedMeDown, takes a closer look into the ability to frame perceptions. The priming theory suggests, “when individuals receive information, they will use the most easily retrievable or accessible information already existing in their cognitive networks to make sense of the new information” (Ferrucci, Tandoc, Painter & Leshner, 2013). The study looked to unveil whom the participants favored, simply based on race and prior knowledge of race from the media’s influence. With this in mind from previous research patterns, four hypotheses were posed to suggest the participants would be more favorable of someone their own race, rather than the opposite race, based on their subconscious knowledge they’ve gathered from prior events. The participants, white undergraduate students from a Southern California private university, were given a news article detailing an ambiguous incident, in which, a man was shot by a police officer. The text remained identical in all conditions, with the only manipulation being the photo of the victim’s race. There were four photos varying in the victim's race (Black or White) and perceived delinquent behavior (innocent or delinquent). After reviewing the articles, participants were asked to complete a survey corresponding to the likability of the male victim, along with Symbolic Racism Scale. The survey will help to reveal the influence of photos in the context of news media and the racial controversies highlighted in the news today.


Presented at the Spring 2015 Student Research Day at Chapman University.

Access to this poster is restricted to Chapman University students, faculty, staff, and affiliates.

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