Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Media Studies


Bradley Gorham

Second Advisor

Robert Thompson


American Television, Asian American, Cultivation, Interracial Attitudes, Social Judgment, TV Series

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


As television plays a crucial part in people’s social life and ethnicity on the screen both reflects and influences the minds of the audience, this research focuses on the TV representation of Asian Americans and tries to explore how TV series exposure influences American people’s social judgments toward Asian Americans. The status quo of Asian Americans on TV is discussed and cultivation theory is utilized to explain how television influences the audience’s perceptions and judgments. The Asian group is faced with a low representation and a highly stereotypical image on the TV screen thus this study hypothesizes that more television exposure leads to more negative social judgments toward Asian Americans. Based on cultivation theory, this study applies survey method to test the Heuristic Processing Model of Television Effects and introduces accessibility as the mediator, motivation, ability and interracial contact as the moderators into the model. Findings have shown that Asian character exposure has a negative impact on audience’s social judgments toward Asian Americans and self-perceived motivation partially moderates this process. Hierarchical linear regressions are applied to analyze the data and an overall cultivation effect of television is also found.


Open Access

Available for download on Sunday, August 15, 2021