conflict & communication online, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2008
ISSN 1618-0747




Wilhelm Kempf
The impact of political news on German students' assessments of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Employing the design of a prior experiment by Peleg & Alimi (2005), the present study examines how differently framed texts about the Knesset's approval of the Israeli-Palestinian 'Road Map' influence German students' assessments of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The results of the study confirmed our theoretical hypothesis that information presented in political news reports influences more than just recipients' assessments of the specifically mentioned issues. In addition, it also affects their assessments of issues related only via the structures of the mental models into which they integrate information. Moreover, the influence of political news is not uniform, but rather varies with differences in the mental models recipients have previously formed. These a priori mental models, therefore, can be more powerful predictors of media effects than variables such as recipients' political orientations, their personal views or the relevance they attribute to a conflict.


  full text in English  
On the author:
Wilhelm Kempf, since 1977 Professor for Psychological Methodology and Head of the Peace Research Group at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Since 2002 editor of conflict & communication online. Special areas of interest: nonviolent conflict solutions, the construction of social reality by the mass media. Recent books: Konflikt und Gewalt (Münster: agenda, 2000); Los Medios y la Cultura de Paz (with Sonia Gutiérrez Villalobos, Berlin: regener, 2001); Journalism and the New World Order. Vol. II. Studying War and the Media (with Heikki Luostarinen, Göteborg: Nordicom, 2002); Constructive Conflict Coverage (edited by the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution: Berlin: regener, 2003).

Address: Department of Psychology, University of Konstanz, D-78457 Konstanz, Germany.