This study tested the "third-person effect" during the O.J. Simpson double-murder trial. The perceptual component of the third-person effect predicts that people judge themselves to be less susceptible to media influence than other people. Findings from a nationwide telephone survey indicated that respondents' self-perceived knowledge about the legal issues involved in the Simpson trial was correlated with third-person perception of a perceived "neutral" media message. Self-perceived knowledge was not correlated with third-person perceptual bias of a perceived "biased" message. It was suggested that the biased message primed respondents' perceptions of Simpson's guilt or innocence. The relative contributions of various predictors of third-person perception were assessed using regression analysis.
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