The role of comparison group size in the third-person effect

David Tewksbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior third-person effect research has demonstrated that the perceived discrepancy between the impact of media messages on one's self and others is driven by a number of factors. For example, several studies have found that the size of the gap increases as the 'others' become more socially remote from the perceiver. Unexplored until now has been the independent influence of the number of others that people consider. It may be that remote others are perceived to be more vulnerable to messages in part because they are often a larger group of people. The results of two experiments support this suggestion. Estimates of media influence on various others increased with group size, the manipulated variable, in both between-subjects and repeated-measures tests. With size held constant, estimates of effects also increased as the comparison group became more socially and geographically distant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-263
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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