Elaborating differential impact of media exposure on perceptions of police between criminal justice majors and non-criminal justice majors
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Researchers have argued that media exposure involving criminal justice can influence perceptions of police, but empirical research is decidedly mixed. Additionally, some scholars argue that media effects depend on audience characteristics. However, the moderating role of academic major remains unexplored. Using a laboratory-style randomized experiment (N = 270), the current study examines the impact of media exposure that contains conflicting images of the police on perceptions of police and if this effect varies depending on academic majors by performing a series of paired t-tests, independent-samples t-tests, and a mixed between-within subjects analysis of variance. Findings show that exposure to mixed images of the police dampens confidence in the police, but this effect is pronounced among non-CJ majors compared to CJ majors. Expanding our knowledge base in differential media effects between CJ majors and non-CJ majors can offer useful insights into future CJ curricula.