Priming theory and RAS models: Toward an integrated perspective of media influence

Robert K. Goidel, Todd G. Shields, Mark Peffley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Contemporary political science research into the effects of the mass media has focused largely on either priming theory or Receive, Accept, and Sample (RAS) models but rarely on both simultaneously. The separation of the two approaches is unfortunate because the predictions generated by the two theoretical perspectives are not mutually exclusive, and research may benefit greatly from a more integrated perspective. In the present study, we demonstrate how each perspective contributes to an understanding of changes in presidential approval during the 1992 presidential elections. We then present evidence demonstrating that both media priming and attitude change occur simultaneously. As such, research focusing solely on priming theory or research focusing solely on attitude change necessarily underestimates the total influence of the mass media on individual-level attitudes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-318
Number of pages32
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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