“This Could Have Been Me”: The Cognitive, Emotional, and Empathetic Effects of Viral Police-Involved Shooting Videos

Hanson, Rusty [Browse]
Senior thesis


Paluck, Elizabeth L. [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Psychology [Browse]
Class year
Summary note
Abstract: Through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, the spread of the violent images or video clips is largely unregulated and viewed by people of all ages without proper warning. The current study seeks to understand the cognitive, emotional, and empathic responses to witnessing viral videos of police-involved shootings. Participants in the current study will be shown real footage of police violence that they might see in the media in their daily life. 193 participants were shown a video of police using of deadly force on a black or white victim. Black participants in the black victim condition displayed an increased burden on their cognitive functioning, greater negative emotion and more empathy for the victim than non-black participants. Further research must be conducted to examine how participants respond to these harrowing, viral videos.Keywords: police-involved shooting, viral, empathy, race, media

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