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Arendt, Florian (2019): Investigating the Negation of Media Stereotypes. Ability and Motivation as Moderators. In: Journal of Media Psychology, Vol. 31, No. 1: pp. 48-54

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We investigated the negation of media stereotypes. Negation refers to an internal attempt to negate stereotypic content (“No! This is not true!”). The process of negation is important because a critical assessment of stereotypic content can be beneficial for stereotype and prejudice reduction. This fact is a crucial reason why readers’ disagreement regarding simplified stereotypic depictions is of central interest for mass communication research and media literacy campaigns. Importantly, factors that can increase negation are of special interest. Although the ability and motivation to process stereotypic content can be theoretically identified as potential influencing factors, media-stereotype research has not yet tested the influence of these factors on negation. In Experiment 1 (N = 347), we manipulated the motivation to negate by presenting awareness material. We informed some of the participants that the news media often do not represent the world as it is, but sometimes do so in a stereotypic way. Analyses revealed that participants who received the awareness material before reading negated to a higher extent. In Experiment 2 (N = 223), we investigated the impact of ability by manipulating the time participants had to negate stereotypic content. The ability to negate was assumed to be higher the more time the participants had to process stereotypic information. As hypothesized, negation was higher when there was more time available. Interestingly, the increase in effect size was dampened the more time was available, which indicated a curvilinear relationship. Implications for media-literacy campaigns are discussed.

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