The authors would like to acknowledge Alejandro Navarro and Ezra Vazquez-D'Amico for their help in collecting data and translation. We would like to thank the Princeton YWCA, St. Paul's Catholic Church, Betania Presbyterian Church, St. Mark's Catholic Church, and El Centro Catholic Charities for allowing us to collect data at their organizations, the Shelton-Sinclair-Paluck Lab for feedback on the manuscript, and David Mackenzie, Anastasia Mann, Telemundo, and in particular Alfredo Richard at Telemundo for assistance with the project.
The Devil Knows Best: Experimental Effects of a Televised Soap Opera on Latino Attitudes Toward Government and Support for the 2010 U.S. Census
Article first published online: 28 APR 2011
© 2011 The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 113–132, December 2012
How to Cite
Trujillo, M. D. and Paluck, E. L. (2012), The Devil Knows Best: Experimental Effects of a Televised Soap Opera on Latino Attitudes Toward Government and Support for the 2010 U.S. Census. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 12: 113–132. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-2415.2011.01249.x
- Issue published online: 18 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 28 APR 2011
Can a soap opera influence political attitudes and engagement among U.S. Latinos, particularly those perceiving a threat from immigration legislation? The extended contact hypothesis predicts that ingroup fictional characters can encourage positive affect and attitudes toward real-world groups and issues with which they are associated. We tested the impact of a Telemundo soap opera, Más Sabe El Diablo, which portrayed a Latino character's involvement with the 2010 Census. During the census-collection period and directly following the passage of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 immigration act, we randomly assigned Latino participants in Arizona, Texas, and New Jersey to view (1) pro-census scenes or (2) control scenes featuring the character but not the census. Compared to control viewers, census viewers expressed more positive attitudes and less negative affect toward the U.S. government and more behavioral support for the census (wearing pro-census stickers and taking informational flyers). Affinity for the character was associated with stronger effects. The soap opera did not positively influence Arizona participants who were directly affected by SB 1070.