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Resonance as Mediator of Prime-Time Messages about Smoking
Unformatted Document Text:  Resonance as Mediator of Messages 12 among these individuals. In contrast, such portrayals of tobacco use do not resonate with those from non-smoking backgrounds. In the sample, such positive portrayals of smoking actually triggered a slight increase in negative attitudes toward tobacco use, counter to message content but consistent with the life experiences of those subjects. However, this increase is not significant. Messages that portray smoking negatively (i.e., repugnant, unsophisticated) resonate with those who come from non-smoking backgrounds. For these subjects, anti- smoking attitudes increased significantly after exposure to the treatment. For those from smoking backgrounds, however, the manifest content of the anti-smoking treatment did not resonate. Indeed, the anti-smoking treatment actually triggered more favorable attitudes toward smoking, when compared to pretest measures. This shift was counter to the message. Again, this shift was not significant. Subjects from smoking backgrounds reported higher levels of identification and parasocial interaction with the smoking protagonist in both treatments, when compared to those from non-smoking backgrounds. Prior research indicates that identification and parasocial interaction mediate the impact of television and film content. However, identification and parasocial interaction with the protagonist does not offset the primary influence of resonance with manifest content. If the message embedded in the manifest content does not resonate with subjects due to their prior life experiences (e.g., smoking vs. non-smoking backgrounds), then high identification and parasocial interaction with the protagonist does not increase agreement with the point of view implicit in the content. Only those from smoking backgrounds who identified with the protagonist in the anti- smoking treatment showed a significant increase in their anti-smoking attitudes after the treatment. The other seven tests of identification and parasocial interaction showed no significant correlations with change in attitudes toward smoking, once resonance was controlled.

Authors: Lauzen, Martha. and Dozier, David.
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Resonance as Mediator of Messages 12
among these individuals. In contrast, such portrayals of tobacco use do not resonate with
those from non-smoking backgrounds. In the sample, such positive portrayals of smoking
actually triggered a slight increase in negative attitudes toward tobacco use, counter to
message content but consistent with the life experiences of those subjects. However, this
increase is not significant.
Messages that portray smoking negatively (i.e., repugnant, unsophisticated)
resonate with those who come from non-smoking backgrounds. For these subjects, anti-
smoking attitudes increased significantly after exposure to the treatment. For those from
smoking backgrounds, however, the manifest content of the anti-smoking treatment did
not resonate. Indeed, the anti-smoking treatment actually triggered more favorable
attitudes toward smoking, when compared to pretest measures. This shift was counter to
the message. Again, this shift was not significant.
Subjects from smoking backgrounds reported higher levels of identification and
parasocial interaction with the smoking protagonist in both treatments, when compared to
those from non-smoking backgrounds. Prior research indicates that identification and
parasocial interaction mediate the impact of television and film content. However,
identification and parasocial interaction with the protagonist does not offset the primary
influence of resonance with manifest content. If the message embedded in the manifest
content does not resonate with subjects due to their prior life experiences (e.g., smoking
vs. non-smoking backgrounds), then high identification and parasocial interaction with
the protagonist does not increase agreement with the point of view implicit in the content.
Only those from smoking backgrounds who identified with the protagonist in the anti-
smoking treatment showed a significant increase in their anti-smoking attitudes after the
treatment. The other seven tests of identification and parasocial interaction showed no
significant correlations with change in attitudes toward smoking, once resonance was
controlled.


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