rvenkat + public_opinion   72

Misinformation and Conspiracy Theories about Politics and Public Policy
Why do people hold false or unsupported beliefs about politics and public policy and why are so those beliefs so hard to change? This three-credit graduate course will explore the psychological factors that make people vulnerable to misinformation and conspiracy theories and the reasons that corrections so often fail to change their minds. We will also analyze how those tendencies are exploited by political elites and consider possible approaches that journalists, civic reformers, and government officials could employ to combat misperceptions. Students will develop substantive expertise in how to measure, diagnose, and respond to false beliefs about politics and public policy; methodological expertise in reading and analyzing quantitative and experimental research in social science; and analytical writing skills in preparing a final research paper applying one or more theories from the course to help explain the development and spread of a specific misperception or conspiracy theory.
brendan.nyhan  course  misinformation  disinformation  public_opinion  public_policy  conspiracy_theories  political_science  teaching  dmce  networks 
6 weeks ago by rvenkat
How Political Opinions Change - Scientific American
-- the article is framed to suggest that people's opinion can be manipulated. Deeper political beliefs and attitudes may still be resilient to superficial interventions. Also, the results suggest that in the current media environment, public opinion swings might be a result of such mechanisms.

-- one swallow doesn't make a summer
political_psychology  public_opinion  via:nyhan 
november 2018 by rvenkat
SocArXiv Papers | Exposure to Opposing Views can Increase Political Polarization: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment on Social Media
There is mounting concern that social media sites contribute to political polarization by creating ``echo chambers" that insulate people from opposing views about current events. We surveyed a large sample of Democrats and Republicans who visit Twitter at least three times each week about a range of social policy issues. One week later, we randomly assigned respondents to a treatment condition in which they were offered financial incentives to follow a Twitter bot for one month that exposed them to messages produced by elected officials, organizations, and other opinion leaders with opposing political ideologies. Respondents were re-surveyed at the end of the month to measure the effect of this treatment, and at regular intervals throughout the study period to monitor treatment compliance. We find that Republicans who followed a liberal Twitter bot became substantially more conservative post-treatment, and Democrats who followed a conservative Twitter bot became slightly more liberal post-treatment. These findings have important implications for the interdisciplinary literature on political polarization as well as the emerging field of computational social science.
political_psychology  cultural_cognition  bias  public_opinion  opinion_dynamics  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
march 2018 by rvenkat
Campus political correctness: Data paints a different picture - Vox
-- There is a difference between espousing idealistic commitments to norms (here freedom of speech) and actually actively promoting and participating in the preservation of such norms. I think public opinion reflects the virtue signaling tendencies of the run of the mill liberal and is very different from the latter kind which requires that individuals contribute to public goods necessary for norm and institution maintenance.

There is a difference between signaling a belief in such values and actually sitting in student body meetings, faculty senate and bureaucratic board rooms and fighting hard for it and taking a stand against the *shouting class*.
survey  public_opinion  freedom_of_speech  university  liberalism  vox 
march 2018 by rvenkat
On the Dynamics of Ideological Identification: The Puzzle of Liberal Identification Decline* | Political Science Research and Methods | Cambridge Core
Our focus is a puzzle: that ideological identification as “liberal” is in serious decline in the United States, but at the same time support for liberal policies and for the political party of liberalism is not. We aim to understand this divorce in “liberal” in name and “liberal” in policy by investigating how particular symbols rise and fall as associations with the ideological labels “liberal” and “conservative.” We produce three kinds of evidence to shed light on this macro-level puzzle. First, we explore the words associated with “liberal” and “conservative” over time. Then we take up a group conception by examining the changing correlations between affect toward “liberals” and affect toward other groups. Finally, we consider the changing policy correlates of identification.

http://ecoggins.web.unc.edu/files/2012/08/Coggins.Understanding.Liberal.Decline.pdf

I am curious about the evolution of *neoliberal* as an expletive.
norms  dynamics  political_science  ideology  conservatism  liberalism  public_opinion  us_politics  via:nyhan  linguistics  evolution  cultural_cognition 
december 2017 by rvenkat
Policy Preferences and Policy Change: Dynamic Responsiveness in the American States, 1936–2014 | American Political Science Review | Cambridge Core
Using eight decades of data, we examine the magnitude, mechanisms, and moderators of dynamic responsiveness in the American states. We show that on both economic and (especially) social issues, the liberalism of state publics predicts future change in state policy liberalism. Dynamic responsiveness is gradual, however; large policy shifts are the result of the cumulation of incremental responsiveness over many years. Partisan control of government appears to mediate only a fraction of responsiveness, suggesting that, contrary to conventional wisdom, responsiveness occurs in large part through the adaptation of incumbent officials. Dynamic responsiveness has increased over time but does not seem to be influenced by institutions such as direct democracy or campaign finance regulations. We conclude that our findings, though in some respects normatively ambiguous, on the whole paint a reassuring portrait of statehouse democracy.
democracy  public_opinion  public_policy  political_science  causal_inference  ?  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
CESifo Group Munich - Shocking Racial Attitudes: Black G.I.s in Europe
Can attitudes towards minorities, an important cultural trait, be changed? We show that the presence of African American soldiers in the UK during World War II reduced anti-minority prejudice, a result of the positive interactions which took place between soldiers and the local population. The change has been persistent: in locations in which more African American soldiers were posted there are fewer members of the UK’s leading far-right party, less implicit bias against blacks and fewer individuals professing racial prejudice, all measured around 2010. We show that persistence has been higher in rural areas and areas with less subsequent in-migration.
causal_inference  cultural_history  discrimination  extremism  geography  britain  political_sociology  public_opinion  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Ethno-nationalist populism and the mobilization of collective resentment - Bonikowski - 2017 - The British Journal of Sociology - Wiley Online Library
Scholarly and journalistic accounts of the recent successes of radical-right politics in Europe and the United States, including the Brexit referendum and the Trump campaign, tend to conflate three phenomena: populism, ethno-nationalism and authoritarianism. While all three are important elements of the radical right, they are neither coterminous nor limited to the right. The resulting lack of analytical clarity has hindered accounts of the causes and consequences of ethno-nationalist populism. To address this problem, I bring together existing research on nationalism, populism and authoritarianism in contemporary democracies to precisely define these concepts and examine temporal patterns in their supply and demand, that is, politicians’ discursive strategies and the corresponding public attitudes. Based on the available evidence, I conclude that both the supply and demand sides of radical politics have been relatively stable over time, which suggests that in order to understand public support for radical politics, scholars should instead focus on the increased resonance between pre-existing attitudes and discursive frames. Drawing on recent research in cultural sociology, I argue that resonance is not only a function of the congruence between a frame and the beliefs of its audience, but also of shifting context. In the case of radical-right politics, a variety of social changes have engendered a sense of collective status threat among national ethnocultural majorities. Political and media discourse has channelled such threats into resentments toward elites, immigrants, and ethnic, racial and religious minorities, thereby activating previously latent attitudes and lending legitimacy to radical political campaigns that promise to return power and status to their aggrieved supporters. Not only does this form of politics threaten democratic institutions and inter-group relations, but it also has the potential to alter the contours of mainstream public discourse, thereby creating the conditions of possibility for future successes of populist, nationalist, and authoritarian politics.

--my summary: framing effects and latent preferences produce a mechanism for ethno-nationalism, authoritarianism and populism to interact. But I don't understand this *context* business as well. Feels like a _everything is obvious_ explanation...Not very convincing

-- see also the special issue
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bjos.2017.68.issue-S1/issuetoc
us_politics  european_politics  brexit  trumpism  political_psychology  framing_effects  political_economy  behavioral_economics  democracy  public_opinion  social_movements  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
The Federal Spending Paradox: Economic Self-Interest and Symbolic Racism in Contemporary Fiscal PoliticsAmerican Politics Research - Katherine Krimmel, Kelly Rader, 2017
We show how symbolic politics condition public opinion on federal spending and how this helps to explain an important puzzle in contemporary American politics. Using multilevel regression and poststratification to estimate state-level opinion on federal spending, we show that, curiously, opposition to federal spending is higher in states receiving more federal money, per tax dollar paid. Belying the popular narrative surrounding so-called “red state socialism,” we find that simple hypocrisy does not explain this paradox—individuals who are likely to benefit from spending tend to support it. But, income is a more powerful predictor of opinion on spending in “taker” states than “giver” states, heightening state-level opposition in the former. There is also more to the story than economic self-interest. Symbolic racism is four times more powerful than income in explaining opposition to spending, and there are more people with such attitudes in states receiving more federal money.
political_psychology  public_opinion  public_policy  dmce  teaching  us_politics  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Complex Thinking as a Result of Incongruent Information ExposureAmerican Politics Research - Cengiz Erisen, Dave Redlawsk, Elif Erisen, 2017
In this article, we explore whether incongruent information influences what people recall to mind about a presidential candidate’s policy statements. We investigate whether the volume of people’s political thoughts, their ability to produce arguments, the affective valence of these thoughts, and their integrative complexity are influenced by the congruency between new political information and prior political convictions. We conducted an experiment via MTurk manipulating the congruency of information with respect to ideology. Our results show that incongruency significantly alters how people think about politics. Incongruent information increases integrative complexity of the opposing thoughts, becomes more voluminous, and includes more rationales. Moreover, these defensive thoughts are significantly more negative and less positive about the incongruent information. Parallel to what studies on motivated reasoning demonstrated, we also find that politically knowledgeable people in particular seem to strengthen their thoughts’ cognitive structure while defending their priors against information counter to their political views. We further discuss the general effects of these results and the importance of challenges to existing beliefs in generating complex thought systems.

-- can these domain specific findings generalize well?
public_opinion  political_psychology  cultural_cognition  ideology  heuristics  dmce  teaching  amazon_turk  online_experiments  via:nyhan 
november 2017 by rvenkat
Researcher Bias and Influence: How Do Different Sources of Policy Analysis Affect Policy Preferences? by Grant Jacobsen :: SSRN
Analyses of policy options are often unavailable or only available from think tanks that may have political biases. This paper experimentally examines how voters respond to policy analysis and how the response differs when a nonpartisan, liberal, or conservative organization produces the analysis. Partisan organizations are effective at influencing individuals that share their ideology, but individuals collectively are most responsive to analysis produced by nonpartisan organizations. This pattern holds consistently across several areas of policy. The results suggest that increasing the availability of nonpartisan analysis would increase the diffusion of information into the public and reduce political polarization.
elite_opinion  public_opinion  contagion  think_tank  institutions  social_epistemology  cultural_cognition  political_psychology  polarization  democracy  via:nyhan 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Extending the Use and Prediction Precision of Subnational Public Opinion Estimation - Leemann - 2017 - American Journal of Political Science - Wiley Online Library
The comparative study of subnational units is on the rise. Multilevel regression and poststratification (MrP) has become the standard method for estimating subnational public opinion. Unfortunately, MrP comes with stringent data demands. As a consequence, scholars cannot apply MrP in countries without detailed census data, and when such data are available, the modeling is restricted to a few variables. This article introduces multilevel regression with synthetic poststratification (MrsP), which relaxes the data requirement of MrP to marginal distributions, substantially increases the prediction precision of the method, and extends its use to countries without census data. The findings of Monte Carlo, U.S., and Swiss analyses show that, using the same predictors, MrsP usually performs in standard applications as well as the currently used standard approach, and it is superior when additional predictors are modeled. The better performance and the more straightforward implementation promise that MrsP will further stimulate subnational research.
public_opinion  spatial_statistics  methods  social_science  via:nyhan 
october 2017 by rvenkat
The Brexit Botnet and User-Generated Hyperpartisan NewsSocial Science Computer Review - Marco T. Bastos, Dan Mercea, 2017
In this article, we uncover a network of Twitterbots comprising 13,493 accounts that tweeted the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, only to disappear from Twitter shortly after the ballot. We compare active users to this set of political bots with respect to temporal tweeting behavior, the size and speed of retweet cascades, and the composition of their retweet cascades (user-to-bot vs. bot-to-bot) to evidence strategies for bot deployment. Our results move forward the analysis of political bots by showing that Twitterbots can be effective at rapidly generating small- to medium-sized cascades; that the retweeted content comprises user-generated hyperpartisan news, which is not strictly fake news, but whose shelf life is remarkably short; and, finally, that a botnet may be organized in specialized tiers or clusters dedicated to replicating either active users or content generated by other bots.

a dilute version here

https://www.city.ac.uk/news/2017/october/13,500-strong-twitterbot-army-disappeared-shortly-after-eu-referendum,-research-reveals

and here

https://www.buzzfeed.com/jamesball/a-suspected-network-of-13000-twitter-bots-pumped-out-pro?utm_term=.sdR6KZ1BOr
bots  european_politics  artificial_intelligence  social_media  social_networks  twitter  public_opinion  public_sphere  cybersecurity  international_affairs  via:henryfarrell  networks  teaching 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Rumor Has It: The Adoption of Unverified Information in Conflict Zones | International Studies Quarterly | Oxford Academic
Rumors run rife in areas affected by political instability and conflict. Their adoption plays a key role in igniting many forms of violence, including riots, ethnic conflict, genocide, and war. While unverified at the time of transmission, some rumors are widely treated as truth, while others are dismissed as implausible or false. What factors lead individuals to embrace rumors and other forms of unverified information? This article presents a new theoretical framework for understanding individual receptivity to rumors and tests it using original survey data gathered in insurgency-affected areas of Thailand and the Philippines. We find wide variation in rumor adoption, and argue that three factors drive individuals to embrace rumors: worldview, threat perception, and prior exposure. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find no evidence that commonly cited factors—including education, income, age, and gender—determine individual receptivity to rumors. We also explore the implications of belief in rumors on conflict dynamics. We find that greater receptivity to rumors correlates with the belief that ongoing conflict is intractable. This suggests that rumors can not only help spark political violence, but also impede its resolution. Our findings shed light on the complex interaction between worldview and unverified information in shaping popular beliefs—and through them, political contention and competition—in conflict areas and beyond.
public_opinion  common_knowledge  ?  conspiracy_theories  cultural_cognition  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan  models_of_behavior 
october 2017 by rvenkat
The Changing Norms of Racial Political Rhetoric and the End of Racial Priming: The Journal of Politics: Vol 0, No 0
We explore the conjecture that norms of racial rhetoric in US campaigns have shifted over the last several years. Prior work suggests that the way politicians talk about race affects the power of racial attitudes in political judgments. Racial priming theory suggests that explicit racial rhetoric—messages overtly hostile toward minorities—would be rejected. When race is cued subtly, however, the power of racial attitudes on issues is significantly enhanced. Replication attempts have recently failed. We identify two historically related shifts that lead us to expect that the effective distinction between explicit and implicit racial rhetoric has declined in recent years. Four nationally representative survey experiments strongly support our predictions: regardless of whether political messages are racially explicit or implicit, the power of racial attitudes is large and stable. Finally, many citizens recognize racially hostile content in political communications but are no longer angered or disturbed by it.
public_opinion  media_studies  race  polarization  democracy  historical_sociology  norms  us_politics 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Do Anti-Immigrant Laws Shape Public Sentiment? A Study of Arizona’s SB 1070 Using Twitter Data: American Journal of Sociology: Vol 123, No 2
Scholars have debated whether laws can influence public opinion, but evidence of these “feedback” effects is scant. This article examines the effect of Arizona’s 2010 high-profile anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, on both public attitudes and behaviors toward immigrants. Using sentiment analysis and a difference-in-difference approach to analyze more than 250,000 tweets, the author finds that SB 1070 had a negative impact on the average sentiment of tweets regarding immigrants, Mexicans, and Hispanics, but not on those about Asians or blacks. However, these changes in public discourse were not caused by shifting attitudes toward immigrants but by the mobilization of anti-immigrant users and by motivating new users to begin tweeting. While some scholars propose that punitive laws can shape people’s attitudes toward targeted groups, this study shows that policies are more likely to influence behaviors. Rather than placating the electorate, anti-immigrant laws may stir the pot further, mobilizing individuals already critical of immigrants.
law  public_opinion  mediation_analysis  causal_inference  ?  media_studies  twitter  political_psychology  us_politics  via:nyhan 
october 2017 by rvenkat
Intolerance and Political Repression in the United States: A Half Century after McCarthyism - Gibson - 2008 - American Journal of Political Science - Wiley Online Library
What consequences for political freedom arise from high levels of political intolerance among the American public? Comparing surveys from 1954 to 2005, I document the level of perceived freedom today and consider how it has changed since the McCarthy era. Levels of intolerance today and in 1954 are also compared. Next assessed is whether restrictions on freedom are uniformly perceived or whether some subsections of the population are more likely to feel repressed than others. I find that while intolerance may have declined somewhat since 1954, perceived constraints on individual freedom have actually increased. These findings produce telling consequences for the subtheory of pluralistic intolerance. During McCarthyism, intolerance focused on the Left; today, many groups are not tolerated, so the loss of freedom is more widespread. Heretofore, many thought that pluralistic intolerance tended to be benign. At least in the case of the contemporary United States, it seems not to be.
united_states_of_america  democracy  freedom_of_expression  freedom_of_speech  public_opinion  political_science 
september 2017 by rvenkat
Science Denial Across the Political DivideSocial Psychological and Personality Science - Anthony N. Washburn, Linda J. Skitka, 2017
We tested whether conservatives and liberals are similarly or differentially likely to deny scientific claims that conflict with their preferred conclusions. Participants were randomly assigned to read about a study with correct results that were either consistent or inconsistent with their attitude about one of several issues (e.g., carbon emissions). Participants were asked to interpret numerical results and decide what the study concluded. After being informed of the correct interpretation, participants rated how much they agreed with, found knowledgeable, and trusted the researchers’ correct interpretation. Both liberals and conservatives engaged in motivated interpretation of study results and denied the correct interpretation of those results when that interpretation conflicted with their attitudes. Our study suggests that the same motivational processes underlie differences in the political priorities of those on the left and the right.
cultural_cognition  political_psychology  public_opinion  judgment_decision-making  dmce  teaching 
september 2017 by rvenkat
Neither Liberal nor Conservative: Ideological Innocence in the American Public, Kinder, Kalmoe
Congress is crippled by ideological conflict. The political parties are more polarized today than at any time since the Civil War. Americans disagree, fiercely, about just about everything, from terrorism and national security, to taxes and government spending, to immigration and gay marriage.
Well, American elites disagree fiercely. But average Americans do not. This, at least, was the position staked out by Philip Converse in his famous essay on belief systems, which drew on surveys carried out during the Eisenhower Era to conclude that most Americans were innocent of ideology. In Neither Liberal nor Conservative, Donald Kinder and

Nathan Kalmoe argue that ideological innocence applies nearly as well to the current state of American public opinion. Real liberals and real conservatives are found in impressive numbers only among those who are deeply engaged in political life. The ideological battles between American political elites show up as scattered skirmishes in the general public, if they show up at all.

If ideology is out of reach for all but a few who are deeply and seriously engaged in political life, how do Americans decide whom to elect president; whether affirmative action is good or bad? Kinder and Kalmoe offer a persuasive group-centered answer. Political preferences arise less from ideological differences than from the attachments and antagonisms of group life.
political_science  ideology  polarization  political_psychology  public_opinion  elite_opinion  partyism  book  united_states_of_america 
september 2017 by rvenkat
Pointing at the Wrong Villain: Cass Sunstein and Echo Chambers - Los Angeles Review of Books
--interesting and meaty critique but some of his arguments about limitations __enlightenment ideals_ need more careful reading....
book_review  democracy  collective_cognition  media_studies  internet_culture  political_science  public_opinion  21st_century 
august 2017 by rvenkat
Examining the Mistrust of Science: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief | The National Academies Press
The Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable held a meeting on February 28 and March 1, 2017, to explore trends in public opinion of science, examine potential sources of mistrust, and consider ways that cross-sector collaboration between government, universities, and industry may improve public trust in science and scientific institutions in the future. This publication briefly summarizes the presentations and discussions from the meeting.
nap  report  public_perception_of_science  public_opinion  cultural_cognition  failure_of_meritocracy  distrust_of_elites  sociology_of_science  sociology_of_technology  dmce  teaching 
june 2017 by rvenkat
A Bottom-Up Theory of Public Opinion about Foreign Policy - Kertzer - 2017 - American Journal of Political Science - Wiley Online Library
f public opinion about foreign policy is such an elite-driven process, why does the public often disagree with what elites have to say? We argue here that elite cue-taking models in International Relations are both overly pessimistic and unnecessarily restrictive. Members of the public may lack information about the world around them, but they do not lack principles, and information need not only cascade from the top down. We present the results from five survey experiments where we show that cues from social peers are at least as strong as those from political elites. Our theory and results build on a growing number of findings that individuals are embedded in a social context that combines with their general orientations toward foreign policy in shaping responses toward the world around them. Thus, we suggest the public is perhaps better equipped for espousing judgments in foreign affairs than many of our top-down models claim.
opinion_formation  public_opinion  judgment_decision-making  political_psychology  political_science  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
june 2017 by rvenkat
The Ideas Industry - Daniel Drezner - Oxford University Press
The public intellectual, as a person and ideal, has a long and storied history. Writing in venues like the New Republic and Commentary, such intellectuals were always expected to opine on a broad array of topics, from foreign policy to literature to economics. Yet in recent years a new kind of thinker has supplanted that archetype: the thought leader. Equipped with one big idea, thought leaders focus their energies on TED talks rather than highbrow periodicals.
How did this shift happen? In The Ideas Industry, Daniel W. Drezner points to the roles of political polarization, heightened inequality, and eroding trust in authority as ushering in the change. In contrast to public intellectuals, thought leaders gain fame as single-idea merchants. Their ideas are often laudable and highly ambitious: ending global poverty by 2025, for example. But instead of a class composed of university professors and freelance intellectuals debating in highbrow magazines, thought leaders often work through institutions that are closed to the public. They are more immune to criticism--and in this century, the criticism of public intellectuals also counts for less.

Three equally important factors that have reshaped the world of ideas have been waning trust in expertise, increasing political polarization and plutocracy. The erosion of trust has lowered the barriers to entry in the marketplace of ideas. Thought leaders don't need doctorates or fellowships to advance their arguments. Polarization is hardly a new phenomenon in the world of ideas, but in contrast to their predecessors, today's intellectuals are more likely to enjoy the support of ideologically friendly private funders and be housed in ideologically-driven think tanks. Increasing inequality as a key driver of this shift: more than ever before, contemporary plutocrats fund intellectuals and idea factories that generate arguments that align with their own. But, while there are certainly some downsides to the contemporary ideas industry, Drezner argues that it is very good at broadcasting ideas widely and reaching large audiences of people hungry for new thinking. Both fair-minded and trenchant, The Ideas Industry will reshape our understanding of contemporary public intellectual life in America and the West.
book  intellectualism  market_failures  political_economy  public_opinion  critique  economy_of_ideas  politics  policy  policy_as_a_social_process 
june 2017 by rvenkat
Assessing the Breadth of Framing Effects
Issue frames are a central concept in studying public opinion, and are thought to operate by foregrounding related considerations in citizens' minds. But scholarship has yet to consider the breadth of framing effects by testing whether frames influence attitudes beyond the specific issue they highlight. For example, does a discussion of terrorism affect opinions on proximate issues like crime or even more remote issues like poverty? By measuring the breadth of framing effects, we can assess the extent to which citizens' political considerations are cognitively organized by issues. We undertake a population-based survey experiment with roughly 3,300 respondents which includes frames related to terrorism, crime, health care, and government spending. The results demonstrate that framing effects are narrow, with limited but discernible spillover on proximate, structurally similar issues. Discrete issues not only organize elite politics but also exist in voters' minds, a finding with implications for studying ideology as well as framing.
political_science  public_opinion  ideology  heuristics  judgment_decision-making  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
may 2017 by rvenkat
Liberals and conservatives are similarly motivated to avoid exposure to one another's opinions
Ideologically committed people are similarly motivated to avoid ideologically crosscutting information. Although some previous research has found that political conservatives may be more prone to selective exposure than liberals are, we find similar selective exposure motives on the political left and right across a variety of issues. The majority of people on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate willingly gave up a chance to win money to avoid hearing from the other side (Study 1). When thinking back to the 2012 U.S. Presidential election (Study 2), ahead to upcoming elections in the U.S. and Canada (Study 3), and about a range of other Culture War issues (Study 4), liberals and conservatives reported similar aversion toward learning about the views of their ideological opponents. Their lack of interest was not due to already being informed about the other side or attributable election fatigue. Rather, people on both sides indicated that they anticipated that hearing from the other side would induce cognitive dissonance (e.g., require effort, cause frustration) and undermine a sense of shared reality with the person expressing disparate views (e.g., damage the relationship; Study 5). A high-powered meta-analysis of our data sets (N = 2417) did not detect a difference in the intensity of liberals' (d = 0.63) and conservatives' (d = 0.58) desires to remain in their respective ideological bubbles.
cultural_cognition  political_psychology  polarization  meta-analysis  public_opinion  dmce  teaching  via:nyhan 
april 2017 by rvenkat
Partisan Selective Sharing: The Biased Diffusion of Fact-Checking Messages on Social Media - Shin - 2017 - Journal of Communication - Wiley Online Library
Using large Twitter datasets collected during the 2012 U.S. presidential election, we examined how partisanship shapes patterns of sharing and commenting on candidate fact-check rulings. Our results indicate that partisans selectively share fact-checking messages that cheerlead their own candidate and denigrate the opposing party's candidate, resulting in an ideologically narrow flow of fact checks to their followers. We also find evidence of hostile media perception in users' public accusations of bias on the part of fact-checking organizations. Additionally, Republicans showed stronger outgroup negativity and hostility toward fact checkers than Democrats. These findings help us understand “selective sharing” as a complementary process to selective exposure, as well as identifying asymmetries between partisans in their sharing practices.
public_opinion  polarization  us_elections  2012  twitter  data  diffusion  networks  social_media  social_networks  teaching  via:nyhan 
march 2017 by rvenkat
Centrist by Comparison: Extremism and the Expansion of the Political Spectrum | SpringerLink
While it is well understood that policy suggestions outside the range of mainstream debate are prevalent in various policy domains of American politics, their effects remain unexplored. In this paper, we suggest that proposing policies far from the political mainstream can re-structure voter perceptions of where alternatives lie in the ideological space. We provide support for this hypothesis using results from six survey experiments. We find that the introduction of extreme alternatives into the public discourse makes mainstream policies on the same side of the spectrum look more centrist in the public eye, thus increasing support for these moderate alternatives.
political_psychology  policy  public_opinion  dmce  teaching 
february 2017 by rvenkat
Social Theory and Public Opinion | Annual Review of Sociology
Any study of public opinion must consider the ontological status of the public being represented. In this review, we outline several empirical problems in current public opinion research and illustrate them with a contemporary case: public opinion about same-sex marriage. We then briefly trace historical attempts to grapple with the public in public opinion and then present the most thoroughgoing critiques and defenses of polling. We detail four approaches to the ontology and epistemology of public opinion. We argue for a conceptualization of public opinion that relies upon polling techniques alongside other investigative modes but that understands public opinion as dynamic, reactive, and collective. Publics are shaped by techniques that represent them, including public opinion research.
public_opinion  cultural_cognition  political_science  sociology  opinion_formation  methods  critique  review  dmce  teaching 
february 2017 by rvenkat
Media Scandals Are Political Events - Jan 10, 2017
When political scandals erupt in the press, we usually blame misconduct by public officials, but these episodes are political events whose occurrence and severity also depend in part on the political and media context. Using data on U.S. governors, I show that several key factors affect the likelihood and intensity that alleged misconduct will be politicized by the opposition and publicized by the press. First, lower approval ratings, which decrease the cost of politicizing and publicizing an allegation, are generally associated with more frequent and intense media scandals. By contrast, competing news events can crowd potential scandals off the news agenda. However, no evidence is found that opposition control of state political institutions leads to more media scandal. These results suggest that the occurrence of media scandal depends more on circumstance than we typically assume.
brendan.nyhan  political_science  political_economy  public_opinion  media_studies  dmce  teaching 
january 2017 by rvenkat
Secrets and Misperceptions: The Creation of Self-Fulfilling Illusions | Sociological Science
This study examines who hears what secrets, comparing two similar secrets — one which is highly stigmatized and one which is less so. Using a unique survey representative of American adults and intake forms from a medical clinic, I document marked differences in who hears these secrets. People who are sympathetic to the stigmatizing secret are more likely to hear of it than those who may react negatively. This is a consequence not just of people selectively disclosing their own secrets but selectively sharing others’ as well. As a result, people in the same social network will be exposed to and influenced by different information about those they know and hence experience that network differently. When people effectively exist in networks tailored by others to not offend then the information they hear tends to be that of which they already approve. Were they to hear secrets they disapprove of then their attitudes might change but they are less likely to hear those secrets. As such, the patterns of secret-hearing contribute to a stasis in public opinion.

--her dissertation (Secrets and Social Influence) here
http://escholarship.org/uc/item/1hf7s08s
sociology  influence  public_opinion  opinion_dynamics  social_networks  norms  information_diffusion  people 
january 2017 by rvenkat
Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects | The National Academies Press
Genetically engineered (GE) crops were first introduced commercially in the 1990s. After two decades of production, some groups and individuals remain critical of the technology based on their concerns about possible adverse effects on human health, the environment, and ethical considerations. At the same time, others are concerned that the technology is not reaching its potential to improve human health and the environment because of stringent regulations and reduced public funding to develop products offering more benefits to society. While the debate about these and other questions related to the genetic engineering techniques of the first 20 years goes on, emerging genetic-engineering technologies are adding new complexities to the conversation.

Genetically Engineered Crops builds on previous related Academies reports published between 1987 and 2010 by undertaking a retrospective examination of the purported positive and adverse effects of GE crops and to anticipate what emerging genetic-engineering technologies hold for the future. This report indicates where there are uncertainties about the economic, agronomic, health, safety, or other impacts of GE crops and food, and makes recommendations to fill gaps in safety assessments, increase regulatory clarity, and improve innovations in and access to GE technology.
nap  science_technology  public_opinion  public_policy  genetics  gene_editing  report 
january 2017 by rvenkat
Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda | The National Academies Press
Science and technology are embedded in virtually every aspect of modern life. As a result, people face an increasing need to integrate information from science with their personal values and other considerations as they make important life decisions about medical care, the safety of foods, what to do about climate change, and many other issues. Communicating science effectively, however, is a complex task and an acquired skill. Moreover, the approaches to communicating science that will be most effective for specific audiences and circumstances are not obvious. Fortunately, there is an expanding science base from diverse disciplines that can support science communicators in making these determinations.

Communicating Science Effectively offers a research agenda for science communicators and researchers seeking to apply this research and fill gaps in knowledge about how to communicate effectively about science, focusing in particular on issues that are contentious in the public sphere. To inform this research agenda, this publication identifies important influences – psychological, economic, political, social, cultural, and media-related – on how science related to such issues is understood, perceived, and used.
nap  report  science_as_a_social_process  science_journalism  communication  public_opinion  public_policy  social_construction_of_knowledge  cultural_cognition  for_friends 
december 2016 by rvenkat

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