ERIC Number: ED223493
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Sep
Have I Heard This Before and Is It Worth Knowing? Variations in Political Information Processing.
Graber, Doris A.
How people select and process current events and political information through the media is studied. Throughout 1976, 21 adults were tested for recall of selected news stories; also, participants recorded daily three news stories that had come to their attention. Results indicated that participants totally ignored 67 percent of newspaper stories. Of the 33 percent that were noticed, less than half concerned government and politicians; other topics of interest were social problems, human interest, and economics. In general, the participants selected news stories that were interesting, simple to understand, and believable. After selection of the stories, participants employed five methods of processing or incorporating the new information into their belief systems: cause and effect sequences (a story about rising crime rates is attributed to high unemployment); behavior judgments of persons and groups who are the focus of the stories; judgments about population subgroups such as business people, ethnic groups, and students; institutional judgments; expectations based on cultural norms (e.g., democracy is the best form of government); and personal interest stories which evoke empathy. Conclusions are that the types of schemes used for processing information are limited in world perspectives but are adequate for extracting some meaning from most domestic news stories. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (Denver, CO, September 2-5, 1982).