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Effects of Mass Media on Prejudice

The way outgroup members are portrayed in the media is widely believed to have consequences for levels of prejudice and stereotyping in the mass public. The visual nature of television and its heavy viewership make it a key source of information for impressions that ingroup members may have of other social groups. However, most research to date has focused on documenting the portrayals of various groups in television content, with only a few studies documenting the causal impact of television viewing. To further understanding of this hypothesis, we outline the contributions and limitations of past work, and point to the most promising theoretical frameworks for studying media influence on outgroup attitudes.