Scholars have long used exemplification theory to examine the relative influence of selected cases or exemplars versus objective base-rate information on public perception of issues or events depicted in the media. However, relatively little research has probed individual differences that moderate these effects. This experiment extends exemplification theory into the novel context of sports media by examining how one individual difference- domain-specific knowledge and interest in the subject-influences perceptions formed through a common message type, a sports highlight reel. As predicted, results indicate that those with greatest interest in the content have superior memory for base-rate information. However, contrary to study predictions, highly positive and exaggerated exemplars yielded greater influence over subjective perceptions of athlete performance for those with greater sport knowledge. Thus, despite their better memory for objective base-rate information, viewers with superior knowledge of sports are more influenced by selective exemplars.
- Base-rate information