Research on third-person perceptions has consistently yielded evidence of a perceptual gap in perceived media effects on self and others. Scholars have worked to understand the reasons behind this gap with mixed results. In this study, we consider how news story characteristics, such as depictions of who is affected and how they are affected, could have implications for individual assessments of the effects of video games on self and others. We further contextualize this experiment by considering the role of more stable beliefs such as maternalism, paternalism, and assessments of media vulnerability. Results indicate that more permanent factors superseded the effects of the news story manipulations. Ultimately, the data show limited influence of media coverage on effects perceptions and suggest that such person perceptions are driven more by long-standing beliefs.
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