Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science





First Advisor

David L. Vogel


According to cultivation theory, people learn information about the world from exposure to media and according to social cognitive theory, we learn how to interact with our social environment through observation of others. Together, these provide an explanation for why stereotypical media portrayals might increase biased attitudes. However, no research has examined the connection between media portrayals and biased attitudes for American Inidans, a group who are only represented in .2-.4% of American media (Fryberg, Markus, Oyserman, & Stone, 2008). The purpose of this study is to assess the role of stereotypical media portrayals of American Indians on both explicit and implicit attitudes and examine the potential mediating impact of both motivation to respond without prejudice and awareness of White privilege on these relationships. In this study participants were randomly assigned to watch either a series of videos with stereotypical representations of American Indians or a series of control videos. Measures of explicitly biased attitudes (modern racism and colorblind racial attitudes), implicitly biased attitudes, awareness of White privilege, and motivations to respond without prejudice (both internal and external) were assessed pre and post-test. Results from three separate hierarchical regression analyses suggest that media does impact modern racist attitudes towards American Indians, but not general colorblind racial attitudes nor implicit attitudes towards American Indians. Importantly, this relationship between media portrayals and modern racist attitudes is moderated by one’s awareness of White privilege such that higher awareness of White privilege only led to less endorsement of modern racist attitudes towards American Indians when not presented with stereotypical portrayals of American Indians. There were no differences between those low and high on awareness when stereotypical media portrayals were present. Implications and limitations are discussed.


Copyright Owner

Haley A. Strass



File Format


File Size

113 pages

Included in

Psychology Commons