Another look at the 'trap' effect of television - And beyond

Klaus Schoenbach*, Edmund Lauf

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The 'trap' effect of television is the presumed impact of that medium on those who are not really interested in politics. Television, it says, is capable of influencing political opinions and behaviors in that group better than other media are. Previous research, however, has already shown that this effect is not very impressive. Historically and internationally comparative analyses of election campaigns in Europe and the USA reveal that it exists, albeit weak, if there are not many TV channels to choose from. Also, first-order (e.g., presidential) elections, as opposed to second- or third-order ones (such as the elections to the European Parliament), seem to support a trap effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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