Title page for ETD etd-05122010-182828

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hensley, Katharine Elizabeth
URN etd-05122010-182828
Title “Terrorism Is Theater”: How Antagonist Portrayals in Action Films Affect Stereotyping and Impression Formation
Degree Master of Arts
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Magee, Robert G. Committee Chair
Ivory, James D. Committee Member
Tedesco, John C. Committee Member
  • Action Films
  • Terrorism
  • Narrative Persuasion
  • Mortality Salience
  • Stereotyping
Date of Defense 2010-04-30
Availability unrestricted
This study examined portrayals of terrorists in several action films and their effects on

participants’ thoughts concerning the films and their characters. A 2 x 2 x 2 factorial experiment

was used to test the effects of antagonist ethnicity (white or non-white), antagonist portrayal type (sympathetic or non-sympathetic), and mortality salience (treatment or control) on narrative transportation, attitude toward the antagonist, attitude toward the video, stereotype endorsement, and response time for attitude toward the antagonist. Gender differences were also investigated.

Participants viewed one 15-minute clip from an action film that manipulated antagonist ethnicity

and antagonist portrayal. Then, participants answered several questionnaires surrounding the

previously mentioned dependent variables.

White terrorists and sympathetic portrayals were preferred over non-white terrorists and

non-sympathetic portrayals. Participants in the mortality salience control condition evaluated

Arabs more favorably than those exposed to the mortality salience treatment. In addition, males

rated antagonists more favorably than females, and males were also less likely to engage in

stereotyping of Arabs and African Americans. Implications for theory and suggestions for future

research were discussed.

  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
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  Hensley_KE_T_2010.pdf 325.17 Kb 00:01:30 00:00:46 00:00:40 00:00:20 00:00:01
  Hensley_KE_T_2010_IRB.pdf 253.56 Kb 00:01:10 00:00:36 00:00:31 00:00:15 00:00:01
  Hensley_KE_T_2010_IRB2.pdf 307.77 Kb 00:01:25 00:00:43 00:00:38 00:00:19 00:00:01

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