Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

First Advisor

Raluca Cozma


The first presidential debate in 2012 was unique, in that it significantly changed the original balance and the commonly predicted election outcome. This survey study is theoretically based on the third-person effect approach, aiming to investigate the perceived self-other discrepancy with regards to how the presidential debate influenced voters' knowledge, attitudes and choices. Results showed that there was a stronger third-person effect on the recipients of negative content than those of positive content, but people with stronger party identification would not change their candidate preference by only watching the first presidential debate. This study brings a unique contribution to the third-person effect theory, by investigating a variable previously overlooked by related studies: the knowledge gain layer of the perceptual component, which is considered to be a crucial precursor to attitude and behavior change. Implications of the results and suggestions for further studies are also discussed.

Copyright Owner

Ge Wang



File Format


File Size

85 pages