The Role of Source Confusion in Cultivation Effects May Depend on Processing Strategy A Comment on Mares (1996)


  • The author thanks Louise Mares for providing additional information pertaining to her study and her helpful comments on aspects of this manuscript. Thanks also to Tina M. Lowrey, Rider University, for helpful critiques of earlier drafts. Preparation of this article was supported by grants from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and Rutgers University Research Council.


Mares (1996) presented evidence that source confusions play a role in the cultivation effect. In doing so, she suggested that these findings are at odds with assertions made by Shrum and O'Guinn (1993) concerning the lack of attention that people pay to source characteristics when constructing their social reality judgments. The purpose of this comment is to clarify some of the findings of Mares (1996) that have implications for the heuristic model of cultivation effects (Shrum, 1995) and to show that Mares's findings are, in fact, fully compatible with, and can be integrated into, the heuristic processing model. Implications of Mares's findings for refining and extending Ms model are also discussed.