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Selective Exposure and Polarization in the Fragmented Media Environment

Presenters: Magdalena Wojcieszak

Oct 26, 2017
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM

Kerr Hall 386

Presenters:  Magdalena Wojcieszak

Title: Selective Exposure and Polarization in the Fragmented Media Environment

Abstract: 

Some evidence suggests that communication and media exposure may be potential “threats” to mutually understanding citizenry. People often select media outlets and political content that confirms their prior biases, and – even when exposed to counter-attitudinal arguments – individuals tend to reject and dismiss these arguments and polarize against “the other side” (be it immigrants, supporters of the opposing party, or others).

During this brown-bag, I will mention several recent and planned projects that aim to identify individual, communicative, and contextual factors that could increase social cohesion. Some of the questions I now explore include: What kind of media messages decrease prejudice toward personally disliked groups? Are there ways to encourage people to select online content that challenges what they personally believe and – perhaps more importantly – to consider this content open-mindedly? I will outline several theoretical ideas, present some evidence, and conclude with ideas for new projects and collaborative opportunities. 

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