A recent study published in Political Behavior has explored how the perceived motives of public diplomacy influence foreign public opinion.
“In this article, we apply the psychological theory of “insincerity aversion” to international relations and show that foreign countries’ image management attempts can be frustrated or facilitated by how the media frames their motives,” according to the authors of the study.
The study tested two hypotheses and was the subject of a survey experiment throughout August of 2020. More than 2,000 respondents completed the survey.
“We fielded a survey experiment involving divergent media frames of a real Russian medical donation to the U.S. early in the COVID-19 pandemic,” the researchers explained in their study.
“Our findings imply that countries seeking to attract support for desirable foreign policy outcomes must not only consider their actions but also how those actions are perceived. The target country’s news media has the power to facilitate or attenuate the positive effects of, for instance, humanitarian assistance.”
“Our findings suggest theoretical implications for the literature on foreign public opinion in international relations, particularly about the circumstances under which countries can manipulate the attitudes of other countries’ citizens,” the authors concluded.