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The Relationship Between a Research Study and Research Article

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Submitted By pistonsfan772
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In today’s society, the majority of the public receives its news from networks putting forth mass media broadcasts. Many of these news stories attempt to summarize published research studies; however, people need to understand that all of the information they receive from news networks are not always accurate and truthful. The article “Study says person's trustworthiness determined by how close photo is taken,” published by Fox News on October 25th, 2012, is an example of how a news network can present a story that is bias, and lacks information. The study, “Perspective Distortion from Interpersonal Distance Is an Implicit Visual Cue for Social Judgments of Faces,” conducted by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), tested whether or not a person’s trustworthiness is affected by how close their photo was taken. The study consisted of four experiments testing multiple audiences on various photos of white males. Each experiment had two pictures for the test participants to analyze; one picture was a man’s face from two feet away, the other being seven feet away. The subjects then rated the man’s trustworthiness by using the “trust meter” they received. For example, the mean trust investment difference in experiment one was 3.2 > 2.45 (far face - close face). The other three experiments had similar results, supporting the claim that the closer someone’s picture was taken, the less trustworthy that person will look in that individual picture (Bryan, Perona, & Adolphs, 2012). Fox’s article covering the material from Caltech’s study presents the information in a bias matter. The writer of the article, Laurie Tarkin, uses the study’s findings to put forth a pro-republican message. At the beginning of the page, Tarkin placed two images of the primary republican candidate Mitt Romney, one from close distance, and one from farther away. She then begins the article with, “Which Mitt Romney looks more trustworthy?” The end of the article relates back to Mitt Romney, by asserting that people cannot let judgements based on photographs affect their voting decision. Throughout the whole entry, Tarkin does not include President Obama (democrat) at all (Tarkin, 2012). The Fox network is notorious for letting its conservative views influence the way they put forth information. Laurie Tarkin’s article is an example of how a writer can present a neutral research study in a bias fashion. The article also lacks crucial information from the research study itself. Instead of giving all the details of the study, like the age, gender, and number of the participants; the author only regurgitated the subjects’ results. By not unveiling the participants’ age, it gives a message that the opinions given in the study are the same opinions as the whole entire population. However, in actuality, the study only tested adults between the ages of 20 to 35 years old (Bryan, Perona, & Adolphs, 2012). Also, the article consistently uses the word “people” in replace of “participants” and “subjects.” This is another way that the author makes it seem like the study defines our whole population’s view (Tarkin, 2012). The word “people” presents the idea of people as a whole, rather than individual participants in the study. Fox’s writer, Laurie Tarkin, chooses to take out and replace various information found in the study to display an assessment of every citizen’s judgement, compared to the actual study that only included a max of 300 participants in each experiment (Bryan, Perona, & Adolphs, 2012). As a whole, Laurie Tarkin did a good job presenting Caltech’s study. She did not give any inaccurate results, and she explained the study’s procedure correctly. There were only minor adjustments made in the article that gave a slightly bias opinion. This article is a reason why the current society needs to continue to work on improving its media literacy. To successfully evaluate a news story, one must have the ability to assess the quality and credibility. It is also the responsibility of the media to improve their media ethics. Laurie Tarkin did not give any false information, she just failed to mention certain key points.

Bryan R, Perona P, Adolphs R (2012). Perspective Distortion from Interpersonal Distance Is an Implicit Visual Cue for Social Judgments of Faces. PLoS ONE 7(9): e45301. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045301
Tarkin, L. (2012). Study says person’s trustworthiness determined by how close photo is taken. Fox News.

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