Term of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Amy Hackney

Committee Member 1

Nicholas Holtzman

Committee Member 2

Michael Nielsen


Despite research demonstrating the importance of news media, there remains a gap in the literature on how the reporter influences the perception of the information. This current experiment aims to fill that gap by evaluating how reporter race and social hierarchy threat alters perceptions of both the reporter and the information. White participants read an article with content that indicated that the current racial hierarchy is either under threat or likely to continue; the article was written by either a Black or White reporter. Participants then completed measures of perceptions of warmth and competence of the reporter, acceptance levels towards the information provided in the article, and social dominance orientation. The primary hypothesis was that social dominance orientation would modify the perception of Black and White reporters providing information that either threatened or confirmed the existing racial hierarchy. A majority of participants did not pass the manipulation and attention check questions that were preregistered with the Open Science Framework (OSF). The results did not support any of the hypotheses, which was most likely due to the very small sample size of participants who passed the manipulation and attention checks. The sample size must be increased before coming to any conclusions about the effects of racial hierarchy information and reporter race on perceptions of the reporter and news content. This research has implications for increasing participant attention to subtle manipulations and the reporting of racial inequality and diversity in the newsroom.

Research Data and Supplementary Material