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Learning about Politics from The Daily Show: The Role of Processing Motivations
Unformatted Document Text:  Learning from The Daily Show 10 H1b: People who are explicitly motivated to process a comedic political message as information will invest more mental effort (AIME) in that message than people who are given no explicit motive or a motive to process the message as entertainment. H1c: People who are explicitly motivated to approach a comedic political message as information will learn more substantive information from that message than people who are given no explicit motive or a motive to process the message as entertainment. Further, it is expected that these processing and learning outcomes will be related to one another. Thus: H2: Audiences who naturally orient themselves toward political comedy as news or as a mix of news and entertainment will invest more mental effort (AIME) in processing that message than audiences who orient toward political comedy purely as entertainment. H3: The amount of invested mental effort (AIME) will increase learning from political satire. H4: The way in which audiences orient toward a comedic political message will indirectly influence learning via the amount of invested mental effort (AIME). Method An online experiment was fielded in April 2010. The experiment consisted of a 3 (viewing objective: entertainment, informational, no objective) x 2 (topic: Biden visit to Israel, Obama’s policy agenda) between-subjects design. Participants were emailed a link to an online survey, hosted by surveygizmo.com. Random assignment to viewing objective and news topic occurred automatically when subjects linked to the survey. Participants completed several baseline measures, including political interest, exposure to news and various entertainment programs, political ideology, and party identification. Participants were then shown a segment from The Daily Show, following which they completed a post-test with learning, information

Authors: Feldman, Lauren.
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Learning from The Daily Show
10
H1b:  People who are explicitly motivated to process a comedic political message as 
information will invest more mental effort (AIME) in that message than people who are 
given no explicit motive or a motive to process the message as entertainment.
H1c:  People who are explicitly motivated to approach a comedic political message as 
information will learn more substantive information from that message than people who 
are given no explicit motive or a motive to process the message as entertainment.
Further, it is expected that these processing and learning outcomes will be related to one another. 
Thus: 
H2: 
Audiences who naturally orient themselves toward political comedy as news or as a mix 
of news and entertainment will invest more mental effort (AIME) in processing that 
message than audiences who orient toward political comedy purely as entertainment. 
H3: 
The amount of invested mental effort (AIME) will increase learning from political satire.
H4: 
The way in which audiences orient toward a comedic political message will indirectly 
influence learning via the amount of invested mental effort (AIME).
Method
An online experiment was fielded in April 2010. The experiment consisted of a 3 
(viewing objective: entertainment, informational, no objective) x 2 (topic: Biden visit to Israel, 
Obama’s policy agenda) between-subjects design. Participants were emailed a link to an online 
survey, hosted by surveygizmo.com. Random assignment to viewing objective and news topic 
occurred automatically when subjects linked to the survey. Participants completed several 
baseline measures, including political interest, exposure to news and various entertainment 
programs, political ideology, and party identification. Participants were then shown a segment 
from The Daily Show, following which they completed a post-test with learning, information 


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