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Rationality and Context: Antidotes for Anthrax Anecdotes
Unformatted Document Text:  13 Two additional comparisons showed that within the Anthrax Story Only condition, high rationality participants demonstrated significantly more apprehension than did their low rationality counterparts, t(81) = 2.61, p < .02, two-tailed. By contrast, within the Anthrax Story + Traffic Deaths Story condition highly rational processors tended to evince less apprehension than did those low in rationality, t(81) = 1.68, p < .10, two- tailed 2 . Experientiality proved to be a non-significant covariate (p > .30) when the ANOVA was repeated as an ANCOVA. The two estimates of anthrax victimization risk were entered as dependent variables in a 2 X 2 MANOVA employing rationality and the story conditions as independent variables. This analysis yielded no significant main effects or interactions. Another MANOVA employing the two items concerned with newsworthiness and the informativeness of the anthrax story as dependent variables and the same independent variables failed to produce any significant main effects or interaction effects. A 2 X 2 ANOVA of the estimated seriousness of anthrax as a national problem also produced no significant effects. The news item apprehension index was intercorrelated with the victimization risk, newsworthiness and national problem items. This analysis yielded significant positive correlations between news item apprehension and the verbal estimate of victimization risk (r = .24, p < .05), the informativeness of the anthrax story (r = .24, p < .05), the newsworthiness of the anthrax story (r = .33, p < .01), and the estimated seriousness of anthrax as a national problem (r = .47, p < .01). Additional correlation analyses revealed that none of the three media exposure items (TV, radio and newspapers) and the item concerned with how closely one follows the news was significantly correlated with news

Authors: Berger, Charles., Johnson, Joel. and Lee, Eun-Ju.
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13
Two additional comparisons showed that within the Anthrax Story Only condition,
high rationality participants demonstrated significantly more apprehension than did their
low rationality counterparts, t(81) = 2.61, p < .02, two-tailed. By contrast, within the
Anthrax Story + Traffic Deaths Story condition highly rational processors tended to
evince less apprehension than did those low in rationality, t(81) = 1.68, p < .10, two-
tailed
2
. Experientiality proved to be a non-significant covariate (p > .30) when the
ANOVA was repeated as an ANCOVA.
The two estimates of anthrax victimization risk were entered as dependent
variables in a 2 X 2 MANOVA employing rationality and the story conditions as
independent variables. This analysis yielded no significant main effects or interactions.
Another MANOVA employing the two items concerned with newsworthiness and the
informativeness of the anthrax story as dependent variables and the same independent
variables failed to produce any significant main effects or interaction effects. A 2 X 2
ANOVA of the estimated seriousness of anthrax as a national problem also produced no
significant effects.
The news item apprehension index was intercorrelated with the victimization risk,
newsworthiness and national problem items. This analysis yielded significant positive
correlations between news item apprehension and the verbal estimate of victimization
risk (r = .24, p < .05), the informativeness of the anthrax story (r = .24, p < .05), the
newsworthiness of the anthrax story (r = .33, p < .01), and the estimated seriousness of
anthrax as a national problem (r = .47, p < .01). Additional correlation analyses revealed
that none of the three media exposure items (TV, radio and newspapers) and the item
concerned with how closely one follows the news was significantly correlated with news


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