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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Riordan, Catherine A.

Second Advisor

Devenport, Jennifer.

Third Advisor

Lemm, Kristi M.


The current study examines how like-minded media consumption and inter-party hostility contribute to the formation of political stereotypes. More specifically, I investigated stereotypes about Democrats’ and Republicans’ general willingness to accept inequality among social groups. Prior research indicates that political stereotypes tend to be exaggerations of actual liberal-conservative differences in personality. However, researchers know little about the factors contributing to Democrats’ and Republicans’ expression of exaggerated partisan stereotypes. I hypothesized that like-minded media consumption, inter-party hostility, and Democratic Party affiliation would be positive predictors of stereotype exaggeration. To test this hypothesis, 259 U.S. partisan adults completed the Social Dominance Orientation Scale. Using an instructional manipulation they took the scale three times: As themselves, as if they were the average Democrat, and as if they were the average Republican. Then participants completed measures of media consumption, inter-party hostility, and party affiliation. The data indicated that Democrats exhibited higher levels of stereotype exaggeration when compared to Republicans. Also, like-minded media consumption and inter-party hostility were positive predictors of stereotype exaggeration. Exploratory analyses indicated that like-minded media consumption predicted stereotype exaggeration which, in turn, was associated with lower expectations for public deliberation. I interpret the results by drawing on social identity theory and research in media studies.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Political parties--United States; Party affiliation--United States; Stereotypes (Social psychology) in mass media; Mass media--Public opinion; Television and politics--United States; Group identity--Political aspects--United States; Polarization (Social sciences)

Geographic Coverage

United States




masters theses




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