Abstract Existing research on conflict framing in the news-media has focused disproportionately on political-party membership, where prior polarization between party elites implies strong pre-existing differences of opinion. To determine whether conflict framing can elicit polarization in the context of other important social identities, we compare the polarizing effects of conflict framing along partisan versus gender lines. In two experimental studies using different samples - i.e., college students (Study 1) and adult U.S. citizens (Study 2) - we found that framing news in terms of gender conflict polarized participants along gender lines. Moreover, polarization emerged primarily via increased self-stereotyping rather than gender-based motivated reasoning or increased gender-based animus. Importantly, this polarizing effect of gender-based conflict framing was not smaller than that of partisan conflict framing. The implications of our findings are discussed in light of work on media framing, social identity, and the formation of public opinion.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Corresponding author: Jiyoung Han, Communication and Media Research Center, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Republic of Korea; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org This study was partially supported by the Ralph D. Casey Dissertation Research Award from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. We thank three anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful comments and suggests.
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of International Communication Association.
- Attitude Polarization
- Conflict Frames
- Intergroup Animus
- Motivated Reasoning
- Social Identity