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At Odds: Laughing and Thinking? The Appreciation, Processing, and Persuasiveness of Political Satire

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This study constructs and tests a conceptual model of how and for whom political satire affects political attitudes. With an experiment, we show that young adults compared to older people are more absorbed in satirical items than in regular news. Subsequently, absorption decreased counterarguing such that the attitude toward the satirized object was affected negatively. By contrast, we show that political satire positively affects the attitude toward the satirized subject via perceived funniness; this was particularly strong among those who held views congruent with the satire or lacked background knowledge, which follows disposition theory. Investigating the underlying and conditional processes gave insight into mechanisms through which satire influences attitudes and pinpointed possible reasons for mixed effects of this infotainment genre.
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Keywords: Absorption; Attitude; Disposition theory; Emerging Adulthood; Intertextuality; Persuasion; Political Satire

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2015

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