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A Clearer Picture: The Contribution of Visuals and Text to Framing Effects

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Visuals in news media help define, or frame issues, but less is known about how they influence opinions and behavior. The authors use an experiment to present image and text exemplars of frames from war and conflict news in isolation and in image–text congruent and incongruent pairs. Results show that, when presented alone, images generate stronger framing effects on opinions and behavioral intentions than text. When images and text are presented together, as in a typical news report, the frame carried by the text influences opinions regardless of the accompanying image, whereas the frame carried by the image drives behavioral intentions irrespective of the linked text. These effects are explained by the salience enhancing and emotional consequences of visuals.
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Keywords: Emotion; Framing Effects; Image; Multimodal; Text; Visual Framing

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2015

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