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Media Priming Effect: A Preregistered Replication Experiment

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 September 2017

Tetsuro Kobayashi
City University of Hong Kong, e-mail:, Twitter: @tkobyashi
Asako Miura
Kwansei Gakuin University, e-mail:, Twitter: @asarin
Kazunori Inamasu
Kwansei Gakuin University, e-mail:, Twitter: @k_inamasu


Iyengar et al. (1984, The Evening News and Presidential Evaluations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 46(4): 778–87) discovered the media priming effect, positing that by drawing attention to certain issues while ignoring others, television news programs help define the standards by which presidents are evaluated. We conducted a direct replication of Experiment 1 by Iyengar et al. (1984, The Evening News and Presidential Evaluations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 46(4): 778–87) with some changes. Specifically, we (a) collected data from Japanese undergraduates; (b) reduced the number of conditions to two; (c) used news coverage of the issue of relocating US bases in Okinawa as the treatment; (d) measured issue-specific evaluations of the Japanese Prime Minister in the pre-treatment questionnaire; and (e) performed statistical analyses that are more appropriate for testing heterogeneity in the treatment effect. We did not find statistically significant evidence of media priming. Overall, the results suggest that the effects of media priming may be quite sensitive either to the media environment or to differences in populations in which the effect has been examined.

Research Article
Copyright © The Experimental Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2017 

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