Publication details [#63326]

Arendt, Florian. 2017. Impulsive Facial-Threat Perceptions After Exposure to Stereotypic Crime News. Communication Research 44 (6) : 793–816.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
SAGE Publications


Tests were executed to learn whether exposure to news about crimes committed by dark-skinned criminals raises impulsive facial-threat perceptions of meeting dark-skinned strangers in a subsequent situation (media-priming hypothesis), but only when the facial displays are ambiguous (ambiguity hypothesis). The hypothesis is that news stereotypes prime the “dark-skinned criminal” stereotype, which, in turn, affects subsequent face processing. An experiment with two groups was employed to examine this prediction. Participants allocated to the treatment group (n = 53) read about crimes committed by dark-skinned criminals. In contrast, for the control group (n = 52), cues pointing out skin color were not stated at all. As predicted, the treatment raised the perceived facial threat of dark-skinned strangers, but only when the facial displays were ambiguous. Given the importance of the face in social interaction, this paper debates important, real-world implications for recipients, journalists and media organizations.