DSpace Repository

Real Attitudes, Fictional Crime: How Crime Dramas Impact Policy Attitudes

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Huddy, Leonie en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Lebo, Matthew J en_US
dc.contributor.author Donovan, Kathleen en_US
dc.contributor.other Department of Political Science. en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2017-09-20T16:51:08Z
dc.date.available 2017-09-20T16:51:08Z
dc.date.issued 2013-12-01 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11401/76762 en_US
dc.description 259 pg. en_US
dc.description.abstract Previous research shows that citizens' primary source of information about crime is through the media. These empirical investigations have generally focused on the link between news – particularly the content of local television news – and perceptions of and attitudes about crime. Local television news programming, however, comprises a small and diminishing proportion of all televised media consumed by Americans. And while scholars have long suspected violence on television affects viewers' perceptions of the world, only recently have political scientists turned their attention to the role non-news media might play in political attitudes. The present study expands on this nascent literature to discover how alternative sources of media, and specifically fictional crime dramas, impact viewers' attitudes on crime. First, using Nielsen ratings data from 1965 to 2010, I argue that crime dramas have sustained majority support for punitive (retributive) crime policies, even as crime rates have steadily dropped. I next examine this relationship at the individual level, using two surveys from different time periods. Overall, this analysis reveals that the effects of crime dramas are content specific, and impact not only policy attitudes but also the relative importance of other considerations relevant to crime (i.e., racial attitudes). Finally, I link the distorted but systematic portrayal of offenders and the criminal justice system in these shows with the cognitive assessments viewers make about crime in order to motivate an emotional theory of punitiveness. An experiment suggests that the content of crime dramas produces perceptions of high offender controllability and certainty about the offender's responsibility for the crime, leading viewers to be more supportive of punitive policies. Moreover, this relationship is largely mediated by feelings of anger, as appraisal theories of emotions would predict. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of theoretical implications and empirical extensions. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This work is sponsored by the Stony Brook University Graduate School in compliance with the requirements for completion of degree. en_US
dc.format Monograph en_US
dc.format.medium Electronic Resource en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Political Science en_US
dc.subject.other crime, emotions, media, public opinion, punitiveness en_US
dc.title Real Attitudes, Fictional Crime: How Crime Dramas Impact Policy Attitudes en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dc.mimetype Application/PDF en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Jerit, Jennifer en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Hurwitz, Jon. en_US

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Search DSpace

Advanced Search


My Account