Third-person effects on publication of a Holocaust-denial advertisement

Vincent Price, David Tewksbury, Li Ning Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examine the potential of third-person effects to influence editorial behavior. Two studies investigated college students' judgments about a controversial advertisement and its suitability for publication in their college newspaper. The advertisement in question, printed in many college newspapers in the early 1990s, claimed that the Nazi campaign against the Jews in the World War II was an exaggeration. Study 1 confirmed a correlation between students' third-person effect perceptions and opposition to publishing the advertisement. Jewish students produced larger third-person effects and were significantly less willing to print the advertisement. These results suggest that those with interests at stake perceived the message as especially likely to influence others, and thus dangerous. However, a closer inspection of the data, followed up experimentally in study 2, suggests that both third-person effects and publication decisions were primarily a function of variance in subjects' perceived impact of the message on themselves, not on others. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-26
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Communication
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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