Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Second Department

Legal Studies

Reader 1

Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Jennifer Groscup

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2016 Megan E. Ho

Abstract

Mass shootings, whether on a smaller scale or a large scale, take place frequently (LaFraniere, Cohen, & Oppel, 2015). Yet the media only covers a small fraction of crime events, and those selected often gather large amounts of attention. This is problematic because by only focusing on the only most extreme and newsworthy cases, the media distorts the general public's understanding of crime in the United States, and a person's actual likelihood of victimization (Schildkraut & Elsass, 2016). The purpose of the proposed study is to investigate in a nationally represented sample how individuals’ causal attributions for a school shooting with an Asian shooter, as well as whether media influence moderate their attitudes toward the shooter. Participants will be subjected to one of two media conditions, editorial type news or straight news, regarding a shooting and then will answer casual attribution questions and perceptions of the shooter. Participants who judge in-group members as the shooter are predicted to more likely to attribute the crime to external than individuals who judge out-group members. Also, it is predicted that individuals who judge out-group members as a shooter will not be more likely to attribute the crime to internal factors than individuals who judge in-group members. Lastly, it is predicted that editorial type news will influence individuals to attribute the shooting more to both external and internal factors than straight news would. This study may add important information on how media should be portrayed, and further explore attributions that are made against shooters. Implications for future research are also discussed.

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