Date of Award

Fall 12-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communications Media

First Advisor

Nurhaya Muchtar, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mark Piwinsky, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Zachary Stiegler, Ph.D.


The purpose of this study is to explore the effects on the social dominance orientation of undergraduates in general liberal education courses of a film traditionally used to teach or complement instruction on diversity and social justice. It aims to fill a noted gap in the media effects, social sciences teaching, and social dominance orientation literatures.

As an experimental study, the present research is employing a pre-test/post-test design to measure effects of watching a film on viewers’ social dominance orientation. Effects are determined based on participants’ pretest and posttest scores of measures related to social dominance orientation and transportation into narrative worlds. A person’s social dominance orientation is related to their support of racial or cultural hierarchies A person who scores higher in SDO will be more likely to support such hierarchies. Transportation is related to being significantly engaged with a fictional narrative text or film. Those who are highly transported are more likely to be emotionally affected by the text and are more likely to connect to the action, storyline, or individual characters than those who are not absorbed. Transportation has shown to be a contributing factor in how fictional texts like film can shape beliefs and attitudes.

The results from the analysis showed mixed results indicating that demographics like race, gender, and class rank show some effect upon transportation and/or change in social dominance.