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Extant research has established that racially-based brawn and brain frames, are commonly incorporated into mediated sports content. Framing theory suggests that these brawn and brain frames should influence audience members’ attitudes and behaviors, but no empirical evidence has yet established causality. In the current pilot experiment (N = 49), exposure to news articles emphasizing the physical or mental attributes of an athlete results in subsequent observed in-game behaviors that are more physical or mental in nature, respectively. Moreover, observed behaviors are found to reify character judgments of target athletes as being more athletic or more intelligent. Post-hoc mediation analysis also found observed in-game behaviors mediated the association between frame exposure and resultant physical-type character judgments, but only for judgments of an athlete’s physical abilities. Mental-type character judgments were predicted by mere exposure to brain-type frames.
Citation: Cranmer, G., Bowman, N. D., & Goldman, Z. (2013, June).“Big run, or smart Gun”: How racially-based sports frames influence subsequent audience behaviors and attitudes of audiences towards athletes. Paper submitted to conference. Paper to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, London.