Human rights news and the right-wing mind: media content analysis and experimental investigations of attitude change

Stocks, Thomas Victor Arthur ORCID: 0000-0002-5386-6700 (2020). Human rights news and the right-wing mind: media content analysis and experimental investigations of attitude change. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This project conducts a series of media exposure experiments to examine whether RWA or SDO play an intermediary role in attitudinal changes that may result from exposure to human rights news. Past research on the news coverage of human rights in the United Kingdom suggests that the media is an important source of public attitudes towards human rights. Nevertheless, research on the coverage of human rights has not engaged with research from political psychology on human rights attitudes or media effects. Research in political psychology has demonstrated that higher levels of both right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation consistently predict lower support for human rights. Both RWA and SDO predict support for broad sets of ideological positions that extend beyond attitudes towards human rights support. We do not know, however, whether the broader ideologies associated with these dimensions are drawn on to shape the media representation of human rights. This project develops a coding scheme for analysing human rights news that incorporates what we know both about how human rights are portrayed in the media and about the relationships the attitudinal dimensions RWA and SDO have with human rights attitudes. This project finds that human rights-opposed news often uses themes that are compatible with the wider ideologies predicted by both RWA and SDO. This project then runs a series of media exposure experiments which find that human rights news can prime RWA-associated evaluative beliefs about human rights, which in turn causes changes in expressions of support for human rights. However, a similar effect is not observed for SDO.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Tenenbaum, Harriet
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Government and Society, Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)


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