Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Media Studies


Makana Chock (Advisor)


Al Qaeda, Cognitive dissonance, ISIS, Islamists, Political Psychology, Social Media

Subject Categories

Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences


In this study, the researcher aims to look at how people would react to Islamists' online persuasive messages. This study is designed to measure the effects of two types of persuasive messages on people's attitude changes and information seeking behavior. Participants were recruited from a diverse pool using the Mturk website. The researcher recruited participants who are considered out-group members. Those are people who are primarily non-Muslims and non-Arabs. A 3 by 3-multifactorial between subjects experiment with the factors of message type (action justification, group-identity and no messages) and pre-existing attitude group (negative, neutral, and positive) was conducted to examine how a change in attitudes and behavior of these out-group members would occur after receiving the messages. The research findings show an overall favorable attitude change, including members of the control group who were not exposed to any messages. Participants who already held favorable attitudes about Islamists and were exposed to group-identity messages, were they became less favorable about Islamists. The results also indicate that a favorable attitude change does not necessarily lead to more information seeking behavior.


Open Access

Included in

Communication Commons