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Scherr, Sebastian; Müller, Philipp (2017): How Perceived Persuasive Intent and Reactance Contribute to Third-Person Perceptions: Evidence from Two Experiments. In: Mass Communication and Society, Vol. 20, No. 3: pp. 315-335
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Abstract

In two experiments, this study presents a process model that explains third-person perceptions (TPP) as a function of perceived persuasive intent and reactance. Using two nonstudent samples, findings were internally replicated for two topics. The study shows that media messages evoking perceptions of persuasive intent also activate reactance, which in turn predicts TPP topic-independently. Remarkably, half of the total stimulus effect on TPP could be explained through reactance, which offers new implications for existing theoretical explanations of strong TPP after undesirable messages but weak effects after, for example, prosocial messages.