Do Third-Person Perceptions Amplify Exemplification Effects?

Sebastian Scherr, Philipp Müller, Victoria Fast


The presumed underlying mechanism of exemplification effects is that people generalize single-case media depictions and overestimate their position of social relevance, while at the same time neglecting more valid base-rate information. A 2 × 2 between-subjects experiment with n = 112 participants explored whether these exemplification effects can be explained by presumptions of strong media influences on others. Participants were shown a “rate my professor”-type website stimulus in which a single user had commented on a university course. Results show that fundamental assumptions of exemplification research interact with presumed media influences: exemplification effects can be amplified by third-person perceptions, particularly when people assess public opinion.


Exemplification effect, base-rate fallacy, third-person effect, climate of opinion, personal opinion, experiment

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