Term of Award

Summer 2021

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

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Ryan Couillou

Committee Member 1

Michael Nielsen

Committee Member 2

Brandon Weiss

Abstract

Partisanship and news source attribution may influence perceived media bias and trust in COVID-19 information. This study aimed to explore how the similarity liking effect relates to political identity and perceived credibility. Our main hypothesis was that individuals would find news sources that shared their political affiliation as more trustworthy than other news sources. To test our hypothesis, 216 undergraduate students participated in a study that measured participants’ trustworthiness of a news article with randomized source attribution from a liberal, conservative, and neutral source. A 2X3 ANOVA tested the relationship between our participants’ political affiliation, measured by the 12-item Social and Economic Conservatism Scale (Everett, 2013), the news sources’ political affiliation, and trustworthiness rating given to the articles by the participants. The results of the ANOVA were not significant; therefore, our data did not support our hypothesis. An exploratory analysis revealed a significant main effect for self-reported affiliation. Specifically, participants who identified as “Other” rated the articles as significantly less trustworthy than Democratic and Republican participants. Our results suggest that there may be other factors that are more prominent in influencing the trustworthiness of news sources apart from political affiliation. Further research is needed to gain an understanding of how social identity theory influences news and media consumption in the United States.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

No

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