- Finding orchids in a field of dandelions: understanding children’s differential susceptibility to media effects
- American Behavioral Scientist
- Volume | Issue number
- 59 | 14
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Most youth and media researchers do not believe that media affect all youth in the same manner or to the same degree. While most media effects theories reflect this belief, empirical efforts often do not. Rather than conceptualizing individual differences as noise or nuisance variables, we argue that the future of media effects research lies within understanding these differences. To that end, the aim of this article is to help youth and media researchers identify appropriate moderators for study inclusion. We discuss the concept of differential susceptibility, with a particular focus on the differences between orchid and dandelion children, highlighting theoretical and empirical applications of this susceptibility paradigm to media effects research. We believe that a more integrative approach to youth and media research, built on a differential susceptibility paradigm in which moderators are thoughtfully integrated a priori, can provide us with nuanced answers to the complex questions associated with youth and media effects.
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