Media priming is one of the most deeply-rooted and wide span theories in media studies. Previous research deploying this theory usually compared the effects of pro-social and anti-social media priming, while this study opted to compare the effects of pro-social fictional and non-fictional media content. Furthermore, the researcher attempts to examine the effects of media priming on situational altruism, as well as, measure the difference between exposure to fictional and non-fictional videos of heroic acts, when it comes to priming an actual helping behavior. An experiment was conducted using a staged manipulation of a sexual harassment situation, as a high cost help situation. The results were statistically insignificant possibly due to the relatively small sample, the one time exposure, or cultural aspects. Nonetheless, the studyâ€™s frequencies show that those exposed to non-fictional videos have a higher likelihood of acting altruistically when they encounter a run-in with a naturalistic sexual harassment situation on college campus, than those exposed to fictional videos. Additionally, fiction has been found more likely to prime pleasure-based motivations and non-fiction primes pressure-based motivations. As for the bystander barriers, the findings show that those exposed to non-fiction experience them more than those exposed to fiction.
Journalism & Mass Communication Department
MA in Journalism & Mass Communication
Date of Award
Online Submission Date
Committee Member 1
Abou Youssef, Inas
Committee Member 2
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(2016).Superhero v bystander effect: Effects of fictional and non-fictional media priming on situational altruism [Master’s thesis, the American University in Cairo]. AUC Knowledge Fountain.
Aboulez, Nermine Mourad. Superhero v bystander effect: Effects of fictional and non-fictional media priming on situational altruism. 2016. American University in Cairo, Master's thesis. AUC Knowledge Fountain.