Recent third-person perception articles suggest that optimistic bias is the mechanism underlying the perceptual bias but fail to empirically test the assumption. A small inverse relationship between third-person perception and optimistic bias was found among the youth surveyed: 51% of the students exhibited third-person perceptions, believing they were less influenced by televised safer-sex messages than were their peers. These students were less optimistic about their chances of becoming HIV infected than their peers; 34% exhibited first-person perceptions, believing they were more influenced by the messages than were peers, and were more optimistic than were their peers concerning HIV infection. Most students (89%) exhibited some degree of optimistic bias regarding their chances of avoiding HIV infection in the future. The findings effectively link the two literatures within a sample neglected by previous studies: urban, minority, at-risk youth. The study advances knowledge of third-person perceptions by suggesting underlying social-psychological mechanisms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language