University Study Finds That Routinely Watching Television News May Increase Racial Bias

university-of-houston-logo2A new study co-authored by Temple Northup, an assistant professor in the School of Communication at the University of Houston, finds that people who watch a great deal of television news may become more racially biased against African Americans due to overexposure to racial stereotypes.

Participants in the study were given the Implicit Association Test, which is used by psychologists to analyze an individual’s subconscious biases. Participants were also asked to express openly their opinions about African Americans. The survey participants were also asked to relate how often they watched television news.

“Based on the findings from the study, long-term exposure to local television news, wherein African-Americans are depicted frequently and stereotypically as criminals, predicted increased negative implicit attitudes toward African-Americans,” said Dr. Northup. “Viewers who watched more local television news demonstrated more unconscious negative attitudes toward African-Americans.”

The research, “Effects of Long-Term Exposure to News Stereotypes on Implicit and Explicit Attitudes” was published in the International Journal of Communication. It may be downloaded here.


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