Testing causal direction in the influence of presumed media influence

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According to the influence of presumed media influence hypothesis, people estimate the potential effects of media on other people and change their attitudes or behaviors as a consequence. In recent years, many studies offered some support for this idea. However, a central limitation of these studies is that all of them utilized correlational methodology and thus do not offer a valid way to infer causality. The current research examined the causal direction in the influence of presumed media influence using experimental methodology. In Study 1, the authors manipulated the perceived influence of watching pornography and measured the effects of this manipulation on support for censorship. In Study 2, perceptions regarding the influence of a news story about an expected shortage in sugar were manipulated indirectly, by manipulating the perceived exposure to the news story, and behavioral intentions resulting from the story were consequently measured. In both studies, results supported the causal direction postulated by the "presumed influence" hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-824
Number of pages24
JournalCommunication Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • presumed media influence
  • third-person perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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