Perpetuating myths and misinformation in media reporting can have harmful impacts on victims of human trafficking. This has implications for the current study, which examined which messages structures can be used to best correct misconceptions and report information about the issue. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: 1) general facts 2) narrative, 3) personalized message 4) control group. Each condition contained the same information on human trafficking in order to measure which format was most effective at increasing knowledge in the general public. Subsequent emotional response and personal motivation to help raise awareness about the issue were measured for each condition and then compared. Overall findings of this research suggest that presenting information in a general fact format was most effective at increasing knowledge in the general public. When controlling for level of education a personalized message structure was most effective in increasing knowledge as well as increasing personal motivation for people with higher levels of education. Future research should focus on designing messages for specific target audiences in order to determine which messaging structures best communicate information to various demographics and personality types.


Clayton, Susan




Social and Behavioral Sciences


human trafficking, myths, belief change, belief formation, media, mass communication, knowledge

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Rachel M. Korest