Does Jon Stewart’s body language affect whether you like who he interviews?

Previous research demonstrated that viewers’ judgments of an interviewee are influenced by the nonverbal behavior of the interviewer. In studies of this media bias effect, judges view a short political interview with a friendly or a hostile interviewer, and then rate their impressions of the interviewee, whose behavior remains identical in all conditions. The present research utilizes the same design and materials to explore potential cognitive remedies, to investigate the effect of attitude similarity on media bias, and to meta-analyze seven replications of the media bias effect. In Study 1, a cognitive remedy in the form of an instruction to ignore the interviewer neutralized and even reversed the media bias effect. In Study 2, insertion of a brief segment depicting a “beaming” and relaxed interviewee also reversed the media bias effect. Study 3 demonstrated that negative ratings of the interviewee due to interviewer’s hostility were intensified when respondents considered the interviewee as “one of them” politically, and disappeared when he was perceived as “one of us”. Study 4 demonstrated the consistency of the media bias effect by meta-analyzing seven replications in different countries. Implications for nonverbal research and for media research concerning the consistency of the media bias effect and its amenability to remedy are discussed.

Source: “Media Bias in Interviewers’ Nonverbal Behavior: Potential Remedies, Attitude Similarity and Meta-analysis” from Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

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