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Analyzing Exposure and Attention Variables in Media Effects Research
Unformatted Document Text:  Exposure and Attention 18 procedures for handling such data, above and beyond the use of triangulated exposure measures. In particular, when researchers are interested in contingent relationships, exposure and attention should be treated additively and that their centered interaction should also be assessed in a hierarchical regression, consistent with Evan’s (1991) recommendations for multiplicative interactions in general. If the interaction term is non-significant, considerable caution should be exercised in interpreting the results of a positive relation between attention and outcome variables as representing a media effect. Such a relation could well simply represent an association between prior knowledge or attitudinal stance and the outcome variable of interest. If raw score multiplicative terms are used for theoretically well-justified reasons (e.g., a prediction of a positive, geometrically-increasing relationship), the main effects should not be included in the same analytic model as the multiplicative interaction term if beta weights are of interest. If the researcher wishes to evaluate main effects and the multiplicative component togheter, or latter should be included as a separate block in a hierarchical regression and the beta weights ignored, per Evans (1991). In either event, it is crucial that appropriate control variables must be identified and included. Otherwise, it is all too likely that the effects of the composite attention/exposure measure (such as those reported by Botvin, et al. 1993) may be due to third variable relationships such as that between prior knowledge and attention.

Authors: Aloise-Young, Patricia. and Slater, Michael.
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Exposure and Attention
18

procedures for handling such data, above and beyond the use of triangulated exposure measures.
In particular, when researchers are interested in contingent relationships, exposure and attention
should be treated additively and that their centered interaction should also be assessed in a
hierarchical regression, consistent with Evan’s (1991) recommendations for multiplicative
interactions in general. If the interaction term is non-significant, considerable caution should be
exercised in interpreting the results of a positive relation between attention and outcome
variables as representing a media effect. Such a relation could well simply represent an
association between prior knowledge or attitudinal stance and the outcome variable of interest.
If raw score multiplicative terms are used for theoretically well-justified reasons (e.g., a
prediction of a positive, geometrically-increasing relationship), the main effects should not be
included in the same analytic model as the multiplicative interaction term if beta weights are of
interest. If the researcher wishes to evaluate main effects and the multiplicative component
togheter, or latter should be included as a separate block in a hierarchical regression and the beta
weights ignored, per Evans (1991). In either event, it is crucial that appropriate control variables
must be identified and included. Otherwise, it is all too likely that the effects of the composite
attention/exposure measure (such as those reported by Botvin, et al. 1993) may be due to third
variable relationships such as that between prior knowledge and attention.


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