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Understanding Support for Internet Censorship in China: An Elaboration of the Theory of Reasoned Action
Unformatted Document Text:  RUNNING HEAD: Understanding Support for Internet Censorship in China 8 Wright, 1992; J. M. McLeod, et al., 1998; Wan & Youn, 2004; Wan, et al., 2001) have shown that approval of censorship is significantly predicted by a person’s score on the authoritarian personality scale. Here, approval could mean either verbal or behavioral expressions. However, as long as the authoritarian individuals harbor an inclination toward or preference for actions promoted by domination more than other people, we argue that authoritarian personality trait ought to be included as an important factor in the study of attitude-behavior relationship, specifically in predicting support of censorship of political information in China. The Third-Person Effect Our second addition to the TRA model is a concept taken from the third-person effect (TPE) research originally developed by Davison (Davison, 1983). Despite the very different locus of analysis, the two theories share a common emphasis on the perceptual base of social judgment. Attitudes toward censorship of any sort involve perceptions of loss and gain. Systematic closure of an area of discourse by coercion requires discursive justification on the part of the censorship imposer and acceptance by the affected. The chief perceptual component of TPE, the third-person perception (TPP), predicts that people exposed to persuasive communication have the tendency to see messages as having greater effects on others than on themselves, when undesirable social influences are presumed (Davison, 1983). The fact that censorship deprives all receivers of legitimate access seems to be irrelevant, even those who stand by such regulations. Apparently, perceived ramifications of negative messages override private

Authors: Feng, Guangchao.
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RUNNING HEAD: Understanding Support for Internet Censorship in China 
8
shown that approval of censorship is significantly predicted by a person’s score on the 
authoritarian personality scale. Here, approval could mean either verbal or behavioral 
expressions. However, as long as the authoritarian individuals harbor an inclination 
toward or preference for actions promoted by domination more than other people, we 
argue that authoritarian personality trait ought to be included as an important factor in 
the study of attitude-behavior relationship, specifically in predicting support of 
censorship of political information in China. 
The Third-Person Effect 
Our second addition to the TRA model is a concept taken from the third-person effect 
(TPE) research originally developed by Davison (Davison, 1983). Despite the very 
different locus of analysis, the two theories share a common emphasis on the 
perceptual base of social judgment. Attitudes toward censorship of any sort involve 
perceptions of loss and gain. Systematic closure of an area of discourse by coercion 
requires discursive justification on the part of the censorship imposer and acceptance 
by the affected. 
The chief perceptual component of TPE, the third-person perception (TPP), 
predicts that people exposed to persuasive communication have the tendency to see 
messages as having greater effects on others than on themselves, when undesirable 
social influences are presumed (Davison, 1983). The fact that censorship deprives all 
receivers of legitimate access seems to be irrelevant, even those who stand by such 
regulations. Apparently, perceived ramifications of negative messages override private 


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