Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Interpretation of reports about crimes are affected by motivations to construct & protect our worldview; liberals attribute crimes more to religion for Christian rather than Muslim offenders; opposite effect for conservatives

Perpetrator Religion and Perceiver’s Political Ideology Affect Processing and Communication of Media Reports of Violence. Samia Habib, Levi Adelman, Bernhard Leidner, Shaheen Pasha, and Razvan Sibii. Social Psychology, July 1, 2019.

Abstract: People’s interpretations of media reports about crimes may be biased by their motivations to construct and protect their worldviews and, relatedly, by criminals’ group membership. Two large-scale experiments (Ns = 248 and 1,115) investigated how American adults interpret reports of crimes committed by either a Christian or Muslim, and how these interpretations depend on political ideology. Results show liberals attributing crimes more to religion for Christian rather than Muslim offenders, with the opposite effect for conservatives. Importantly, these biases also influenced how people communicated the news report to others. Additionally, evidence suggests that attitudes toward Islam and not toward Muslims may explain these effects. Implications for how political ideology affects interpretation and communication of media portrayals of Muslims are discussed.

Keywords: media, political ideology, motivated reasoning, religion

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