Media coverage of "wise" interventions can reduce concern for the disadvantaged. Academic Article uri icon


  • Recent articulation of the "wise" approach to psychological intervention has drawn attention to the way small, seemingly trivial social psychological interventions can exert powerful, long-term effects. These interventions have been used to address such wide-ranging social issues as the racial achievement gap, environmental conservation, and the promotion of safer sex. Although there certainly are good reasons to seek easier as opposed to harder solutions to social problems, we examine a potentially undesirable effect that can result from common media portrayals of wise interventions. By emphasizing the ease with which interventions help address complex social problems, media reports might decrease sympathy for the individuals assisted by such efforts. Three studies provide evidence for this, showing that media coverage of wise interventions designed to address academic and health disparities increased endorsement of the view that the disadvantaged can solve their problems on their own, and the tendency to blame such individuals for their circumstances. Effects were strongest for interventions targeted at members of a historically disadvantaged group (African Americans as opposed to college students) and when the coverage was read by conservatives as opposed to liberals. Attempts to undermine this effect by introducing cautious language had mixed success. (PsycINFO Database Record

published proceedings

  • J Exp Psychol Appl

altmetric score

  • 8.58

author list (cited authors)

  • Ikizer, E. G., & Blanton, H.

citation count

  • 18

complete list of authors

  • Ikizer, Elif G||Blanton, Hart

publication date

  • June 2016