Influence of Political Affiliation on Perceived Media Bias and Trustworthiness in the COVID-19 Pandemic
Term of Award
Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)
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Thesis (open access)
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of Psychology
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
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.
Lamberth, Tabitha, "Influence of Political Affiliation on Perceived Media Bias and Trustworthiness in the COVID-19 Pandemic" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2271.
Research Data and Supplementary Material