Selective Interpretation

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  • One of several selective processes, suggesting that when individuals are exposed to a message that is not in agreement with their beliefs, they will selectively interpret some or all of the message to support their viewpoint. A well-known study of this early limited-effects theory was performed by Kendall and Wolf. When a group of subjects were exposed to a series of cartoons that satirized a bigot, nearly two thirds of them or those who were prejudiced missed the point entirely and thought that the purpose of the cartoons was to reinforce prejudice. For more information, see Kendall and Wolf (1949).

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