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Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences, TESS101 Lee, Cultural Affinities, Regime Type, and Foreign Policy Opinion Formation




Lacina, B., & Lee, C. (2020, April 12). Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences, TESS101 Lee, Cultural Affinities, Regime Type, and Foreign Policy Opinion Formation.


TESS conducts general population experiments on behalf of investigators throughout the social sciences. General population experiments allow investigators to assign representative subject populations to experimental conditions of their choosing. Faculty and graduate students from the social sciences and related fields (such as law and public health) propose experiments. A comprehensive, on-line submission and peer review process screens proposals for the importance of their contribution to science and society.

This experiment explores the role of region-specific cultural biases on individual citizens' perceptions of security threats and seeks to disentangle this effect from the impact of knowledge of regime type. In two different scenarios, the type of government of a given country (democratic/non-democratic) and the religion of a given group (Christianity/Islam/Hinduism) are rotated for each experimental condition (six total conditions, two different scenarios). Respondent's assignment to versions of the two scenarios is independent. In other words, there are two separate randomizations to one of six conditions, one for each scenario. The first scenario (Scenario A) deals with an international terrorist organization and the second scenario (Scenario B) deals with a foreign country developing nuclear weapons.

Data File

Cases: 1162
Variables: 45
Weight Variable: WEIGHT

Data Collection

2/23/2008 - 3/3/2008

Original Survey (Instrument)


Funded By

National Science Foundation

Collection Procedures

The respondent fills out an online surveyand is randomly assigned to one of six different experimental conditions, one for each scenario.

The first scenario (Scenario A):
"It is US policy to treat any country that gives help to international terrorists as a major security threat. It is not always easy, however, to determine which governments give help to terrorists. Please read the following scenario and then answer the questions that follow.

Members of the African Union are pledged to fight terrorism. The Union has accused a member country of helping terrorists in exchange for weapons. The (DEMOCRATIC/NON-DEMOCRATIC) government needs arms because it is threatened by extremist religious groups that oppose the wide-spread practice of (CHRISTIANITY/ISLAM/HINDUISM) in that country. The government argues that it would not support international terrorists because that would hurt its efforts to fight local rebels. The country is very poor and there are high levels of corruption."

Afterward, the respondent answers two questions (Q1 & Q2).

The respondent is then assigned to one of the six experimental conditions for a second scenario (Scenario B):

"An important security consideration of the United States is the development of nuclear weapons by countries that do not already have them. Please read the following scenario and then answer the questions that follow.

Several of the United States' Asian allies claim that a certain country is building nuclear weapons to use against them. This wealthy and (DEMOCRATIC/NON-DEMOCRATIC) country has the resources necessary to build nuclear weapons. The country's government feels threatened by its neighbors because it is one of the few countries in the area where many people practice (CHRISTIANITY/ISLAM/HINDUISM). The country also might want nuclear power in order to generate electricity. The United Nations has inspected most of the power plants in the country but says the government is not always cooperative."

The respondent is then asked more questions.

Sampling Procedures

TESS provides investigators an opportunity to run Internet-based experiments on a random, probability-based sample of the population. To achieve a representative sample, we contract with GfK (formerly Knowledge Networks), which conducts surveys using its KnowledgePanel. KnowledgePanel is a nationally representative, probability-based web panel based on dual-frame sampling that combines traditional random-digit-dialing telephone surveying techniques with an address-based technique that allows the sample to be representative of cell-phone-only households as well as those with land-lines. A summary of the KnowledgePanel survey design used for the TESS projects can be accessed here. Additional data and study materials can be downloaded here.

Principal Investigators

Bethany Lacina, University of Rochester
Charlotte Lee, Hamilton College


For any additional information regarding TESS data, please visit the original website here

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