Andrea Martinez--Admitted to Stanford
Major and Classification
Political Science, Chicano Studies and Psychology
- Ricardo Ramirez, Ph.D.
- Political Science and American Studies & Ethnicity
Graduate School Admission Status
- Admitted to Stanford University, Ph.D. Program in Political Science
McNair ProjectThe Effect of Framing on Emotion and Policy Opinion: An Investigation of the Illegal Immigration Issue
Politicians recognize the value of emotional appeals when attempting to influence opinion and garner public support. However, research concerning the impact of rhetorical framing on emotions often considers emotion to be an individual level-phenomenon. Using Inter-group Emotions Theory (IET), this study investigates the effect of framing upon emotional responses and political perspectives regarding the issue of illegal immigration as it relates to the Latina/o community. In an online survey, participants read a simulated excerpt from a presidential campaign speech that argued for an increase in border security to curb illegal immigration. This speech also pointed out the negative impact of illegal immigration on Americans. The excerpt employed either a thematic frame, which focused on statistics related to immigration, or an episodic frame, which focused on the plight of an individual. Further, the ethnicity of a "victimized" group or person varied within the frame. Contrary to findings from prior framing studies, results of this study showed that episodic frames were not significantly more emotionally engaging than thematic frames. Also, both frames elicited similar levels of change in policy opinion, but in a direction opposite from that of the excerpt's argument. As predicted from the racialized nature of illegal immigration, emotional reaction and policy opinion differed according to participant race and featured race. This study helps reveal the complexities of responses among different racial groups to immigration rhetoric. Results suggest that groups' reactions to rhetorical strategies are particular to the policy issue at hand, and that race is a factor to take into account when seeking to understand the opinions and decisions of members of the electorate when it comes to the issue of illegal immigration.