Impact of emotional priming on attitudes towards AMBER Alerts in student and community samples
AdvisorMiller, Monica K.
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This experiment investigated the relationship between primed emotions and attitudes toward AMBER Alerts in samples of students and community members. Differences between respondent groups were also addressed to determine if different status (i.e., student or community member) related to responses. Respondents were 34.1% students at the University of Nevada, Reno, and 65.9% MTurk workers. Respondents were randomly assigned to one of six different conditions. Each condition had a different version of a story (i.e., the prime) involving AMBER Alerts, except for the control. Each version manipulated whether or not there was an AMBER Alert and the outcome of the abduction. Respondents answered a series of pre-test questions then read the story (prime), then answered post-test questions. Responses to the post-test questions were compared to the pre-test responses to determine if there was any change in attitudes toward AMBER Alerts. There was a significant change in respondent attitudes from the pre-test to the post-test, with the post-test scores being more positive on the responses to the AMBER Alert questions. There was also a change in emotions, as measured by the PANAS, with the level of positive emotions increasing and negative emotions decreasing, but the differences between conditions were not significant. The respondent groups were significantly different with regards to the levels of emotional change, as measured by the PANAS. Differences between respondent groups were significant on the AMBER Alert scale and the "something should be done" scale, and the results indicate a significant change in attitudes from the pre-test to the post-test. The respondent groups expressed different levels of support for the AMBER Alerts, and different levels of support for what should be done. Results have implications for psychology and criminal justice policy.