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Do Third-Person Perceptions Amplify Exemplification Effects?

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The presumed underlying mechanism of exemplification effects is that people generalize single-case media depictions and overestimate their position of social relevance, while at the same time neglecting more valid base-rate information. A 2 × 2 between-subjects experiment with n = 112 participants explored whether these exemplification effects can be explained by presumptions of strong media influences on others. Participants were shown a “rate my professor”-type website stimulus in which a single user had commented on a university course. Results show that fundamental assumptions of exemplification research interact with presumed media influences: exemplification effects can be amplified by third-person perceptions, particularly when people assess public opinion.
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... In a recent example of this finding, Yu (2012) observed that mothers believed that TV food advertising has more impact on other people's children than on their own. Scherr, Muller, and Fast (2013) found that German students perceived greater effects of exposure to Rate My Professor evaluations for students at other universities, than for students at their own university. Additionally, the degree to which the social distance of comparison bias include ego-enhancement (as explained above), selfpresentation (a strategy of trying to present oneself in a positive way), and exerting control (a strategy of making oneself feel more in control over their destiny). ...
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... Recent studies show that positive information leads to a more positive perception and attitude, whereas negative information has the opposite effect (e.g., Arpan, 2009;Peter, Rossmann, & Keyling, 2014;Winter, Brückner, & Krämer, 2015). Scherr, Müller, and Fast (2013a) examined exemplification effects in the context of an online rating site for university professors. They found that positive exemplars lead to a more positive perceived climate of opinion, personal opinion, and stronger intended actions than negative exemplars. ...
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... Second, these findings challenge the assumption that media messages are objectively desirable or undesirable. Instead, presumed media effects are likely to interact with individual perceptions of media messages (e.g., with exemplification effects as shown by Scherr, Müller, & Fast, 2013) that in turn depend on individual factors as Valkenburg and Peter (2013) have pointed outsurprisingly, this is a fairly new perspective for research on third-person effects. For example, two independent studies found that depressive symptoms enhance first-person peceptions (Scherr & Reinemann, 2011;Scherr, 2016) both cross-sectionally and over time, which has been explained by the general tendency of depressed persons to internalize more and to less selfenhance. ...
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... The perceived controllability of risk is defined as the perceived control that people have over exposure to hazards (Botterill & Mazur, 2004). Assuming that risk perception is influenced notably by pre-existing knowledge (Scherr, Muller, & Fast, 2013), the stakeholders' perception of their control in preventing a hazard to occur or to spread may be explained by the fact that our sample mainly consisted of experts. In contrast, this seems divergent with climate a One respondent could have more than one field of competency. ...
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