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Disentangling the effects of thematic information and emphasis frames and the suppression of issue-specific argument effects through value-resonant framing


Kaiser, Johannes (2020). Disentangling the effects of thematic information and emphasis frames and the suppression of issue-specific argument effects through value-resonant framing. Political Communication, 37(1):1-19.

Abstract

Research on emphasis framing effects has recently received important criticism. Most of this critique argues that emphasis frames that make a specific aspect of an issue more salient are often confounded with the additional presentation of new thematic information. This could imply that citizens’ susceptibility to emphasis framing effects is overstated, as these effects could also originate from new issue-specific facts and arguments contained in the different frames and not from the mere emphasis on certain frames. Using a representative sample (N = 833), this study conducts a 2x3x2 online experiment separating the effects of the persuasiveness of new thematic information (i.e., of issue-specific argument strength) and of salience emphasis frames to test the effects of each depending on citizens’ political value preferences. These salience emphasis frames employ cross-thematic political values that citizens already know and are thus not confounded with the provision of new thematic information. Results show that issue-specific argument strength (i.e., the new facts about an issue) exerts effects on issue attitudes. However, salience emphasis frames also show clear effects. The framing effect is present regardless of both issue-specific argument strength the frame contextualizes and of citizens’ political values. Moreover, value-resonant frames matching citizens’ preferences suppress the effects of new thematic information. This not only implies that emphasis frames can be effective without providing new substantive information but also that citizens rely more on the salience of emphasis frames than on the argument strength of thematic information, questioning the quality of citizens’ attitude formation under framing conditions.

Abstract

Research on emphasis framing effects has recently received important criticism. Most of this critique argues that emphasis frames that make a specific aspect of an issue more salient are often confounded with the additional presentation of new thematic information. This could imply that citizens’ susceptibility to emphasis framing effects is overstated, as these effects could also originate from new issue-specific facts and arguments contained in the different frames and not from the mere emphasis on certain frames. Using a representative sample (N = 833), this study conducts a 2x3x2 online experiment separating the effects of the persuasiveness of new thematic information (i.e., of issue-specific argument strength) and of salience emphasis frames to test the effects of each depending on citizens’ political value preferences. These salience emphasis frames employ cross-thematic political values that citizens already know and are thus not confounded with the provision of new thematic information. Results show that issue-specific argument strength (i.e., the new facts about an issue) exerts effects on issue attitudes. However, salience emphasis frames also show clear effects. The framing effect is present regardless of both issue-specific argument strength the frame contextualizes and of citizens’ political values. Moreover, value-resonant frames matching citizens’ preferences suppress the effects of new thematic information. This not only implies that emphasis frames can be effective without providing new substantive information but also that citizens rely more on the salience of emphasis frames than on the argument strength of thematic information, questioning the quality of citizens’ attitude formation under framing conditions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Department of Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Communication
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Framing effects, political values, attitude formation, motivated reasoning, political communication effects
Language:English
Date:2 January 2020
Deposited On:04 Oct 2019 09:59
Last Modified:26 Jan 2022 22:38
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1058-4609
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/10584609.2019.1658662

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