Personal Attitudes and the International Appeal of Narcoculture
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The illegal drug trade has given rise to epidemic levels of violence and corruption in impacted regions. While violence and corruption present the most problematic and salient characteristics of organized drug trafficking, the narcotics economy also manifests itself through specific and recurring thematic and expressive cultural elements. This “narco” sub-culture is propagated through several outlets and serves various functions: amongst the most important being to normalize and glorify the drug trade and its principle actors. To better understand what might make a narcocultural hero appealing, a convenience sample of 930 undergraduate students enrolled at Texas State University volunteered to participate in this study. Each was given an excerpt wherein a narcocultural-hero protagonist was framed as tough, charismatic, and cunning. After this, the participants were asked to take the Interpersonal Judgement Scale (IJS) to assess attraction to the protagonist of the excerpt. A message credibility survey was also administered. Prior to reading the excerpt, participants were evaluated on several personal attitude metrics. Additionally, demographic information was collected. Regression analyses indicated that personal attitude metrics and demographic characteristics successfully contributed to a predictive model of individual attraction for a narco-hero. Of the personal attitude metrics, only criminal sentiments showed the hypothesized relationship within the predictive model, with higher criminal sentiments linked significantly to greater attraction for the social bandit character. Additionally, men were more likely to rate the narco-hero higher attraction scores than were females.