Liberty and justice for all? The influence of media exposure and socioeconomic identity on perception of crime

Martina Ward, The College of Wooster


Previous research has shown that media is influential on an individualÍs behaviors and can perpetuate stereotypes (Gorham, 2006). Also, people show more concern for someone they consider to be in their own group (Sturner, Snyder, Kropp, & Siem, 2006). The purpose of this study is to determine whether college students demonstrate prejudice against the homeless and whether media affects their opinion. In this study, sixty-six participants watched clips, which included people from those classes and then read crime scenarios depicted victims or perpetrators from those groups. It was predicted that participants would have less concern for the victim described as homeless, unless they were exposed to a clip about the homeless. The results showed there was a main effect for both status identification and video, but that in general participants did not demonstrate prejudice toward the homeless or more sympathy for celebrities.