Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Politics and International Relations

Second Department


Reader 1

Sumita Pahwa

Reader 2

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 3

Jennifer Ma

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2023 Kathryn E Parker


American policymakers utilize valence framing, purposeful descriptions of outcomes as positive or negative, to influence the opinions of voters while maintaining the moral superiority felt by many citizens in the liberal Western hegemon. This study intended to combine the political theories of Constructivism and Realism to form Constructive Realism, a theory that emphasizes the significance of state power and norms as joint influences on constituents. Constructive realism was then applied to four case studies – the UN Security Council, International Criminal Court, Convention on the Rights of the Child, and Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. This study also intended to highlight the relationship between these various factors, and how the use of negative framing of international human rights treaties can manifest increased out-group threat perception, and preference of domestic security over global human rights. An online, mixed-methods survey involving several different questionnaires was utilized, as well as a framing manipulation vignette. Unfortunately, the vignette manipulation was not statistically significant. But participants who perceived more conflict were more likely to approve of the fabricated treaty compared to those who perceive less conflict. Threat perception was significantly correlated with all dependent variables other than rates of political knowledge and attitudes about human rights. Moral superiority displayed a weak negative correlation with perceived threat. Attitudes about U.S. involvement in international relations and U.S. security and military funding, as well as cognitive bias and nationalism, all correlated positively with perceived conflict.