Mediated reality bites : Comparing direct and indirect experience as sources of perceptions across two communities in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-418
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


Integrating the cultivation and impersonal impact approaches, this research assessed the relative contribution of direct experience, interpersonal communication, and media use habits on crime perceptions by people from two communities, Hong kong and the Mainland Chinese city of Guangzhou. A large-scale newspaper content analysis and parallel surveys were conducted and crime statistics were obtained in both communities in 1997 and 1999 to investigate the relationships among sources of influence and three distinct aspects of crime perceptions: estimates of crime rates, mean world judgments, and fear of crime. Within and cross-community comparisons closely connected individual's heightened crime perceptions with the media's sensational crime coverage to a point that rendered the real life environment tended to contradict the media world, although interpersonal discussions appeared to compliment media portrayals. Findings show some supportive evidence for the prediction that cultivation and impersonal impact would become strengthened when the object of evaluation was removed from one's own community. This other-community effect' tended to be reinforced by informal communication.