Mainstreaming, resonance, and impersonal impact.

Testing moderators of the cultivation effect for estimates of crime risk


Corresponding author, E-mail:


People may use information from a variety of sources in constructing their judgments of crime risk, including direct experience, word-of-mouth, and the mass media. One hundred fifty-eight general population respondents provided 3 estimates of risk of violent crime: societal crime risk, personal crime risk to themselves in their own neighborhood, and personal crime risk to themselves in New York City. Respondents' level of television viewing was related to their estimates of societal crime risk and to their estimates of personal crime risk in New York City (p < .05) but not to their estimates of personal crime risk in their own neighbourhood (p < .05): all 3 risk estimates were related to respondents' level of television viewing only for those with high direct experience with crime, results that are consistent with Gerbner's concept of resonance (Gerbner et al., 1980). The implications for the concept of impersonal impact (Tyler, 1980) and Gerbner et al.'s concepts of cultivation and mainstreaming are also discussed.