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Müller, Philipp; Scherr, Sebastian (2017): Reducing the Bias: How Perspective Taking Affects First- and Third-Person Perceptions of Media Influence. In: Communication Research Reports, Vol. 34, No. 2: pp. 134-142
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Abstract

Third-and first-person perceptions (TPPs/FPPs) are considered to be biased judgments of media influence on self and others. Research suggests that perspective taking, i.e., thinking from another person's position, decreases perceptual gaps between self and others via assimilation. In a two-factorial experiment (n = 431), we test whether this effect of perspective taking (Factor 1) holds true for the presumed influence of desirable and undesirable messages (Factor 2). Results indicate that perspective taking significantly reduces TPPs in the case of an undesirable message but not FPPs that are provoked by the desirable message. The observable effect traces back to a change in presumed message influence on the self. Presumed influence on others was independent of both factors, desirability of message influence and perspective taking. These findings are discussed in the light of cognitive and motivational explanations for FPPs/TPPs.