Understanding person perceptions: Comparing four common statistical approaches to third-person research

Mike Schmierbach, Michael P. Boyle, Douglas M. Mcleod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This article addresses whether current methods of measurement are sufficient to reflect all nuances of the third-person effect. We do so by content analyzing all major third-person effect (3PE) articles, assessing measurement and analysis approaches employed by 3PE researchers. We revisit data from two published studies, comparing analytical models that emerged as commonly used by 3PE researchers (i.e., the standard subtractive measure, Whitt's Diamond model, first and third-person estimates entered separately, and the subtractive measure with self-estimates as a control). Ultimately our analysis helps us understand past research and makes suggestions for research approaches in the future. First, researchers need to more carefully explore the role of first and third-person perceptions in the behavioral hypothesis. Second, using only one analytical model does not tell the complete story. To that end, we propose a multimodel approach to analyses in third-person research be applied to extant and future work in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-513
Number of pages22
JournalMass Communication and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication


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