According to new research, partisan media consumption predicts future changes in sociopolitical attitudes

According to new research, partisan media consumption predicts future changes in sociopolitical atti ...

According to a new PLOS One study, exposure to partisan news can alter sociopolitical attitudes over time. Rather, consuming information from political sources appears to alter perceptions of reality and sociopolitical attitudes.

Megan Earle, a former graduate student, was led by this project. According to Gordon Hodson, a study author at Brock University and the director of the Brock Intergroup Attitudes Scholarship Lab, there is a lot of interest in psychology (and other disciplines) and in the general public.

Though news outlets traditionally considered objectivity to be a goal, these days, news outlets seem to be more partisan in nature. We already know that people on the left are drawn to news from the right, and people on the right are drawn to these information, therefore we sought to investigate this question in ways that would address or resolve the self-selection issue.

Researchers completed an analysis of data from the 2016 American National Election Studies. They then collected data from 4,249 Americans who answered questions about their news consumption and sociopolitical views. As expected, Hodson and his research team found that those who consumed more right-leaning news consumption tended to have more left-leaning views.

According to Amazon''s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform, news consumption habits led to significant changes in sociopolitical views.

Hodson and his colleagues found that more right-leaning news consumption predicted subsequent shifts towards right-leaning beliefs, even after controlling for previous issue issues. But only two attitudes significantly predicted later partisan news consumption: more pro-gun attitudes and more anti-Muslim attitudes both predicted decreased use of left-leaning news over time.

The researchers found evidence of a causal relationship. In a supplemental study, 305 Canadian university undergraduates were randomly assigned to a 10-minute clip of news footage depicting ISIS and Syrian refugees from a right-leaning source, or a 10-minute clip of sports news commentary. Those who saw the right-leaning news coverage tended to have more anti-refugee attitude, support for military action, and terrorism concerns.

Collectively, these findings suggest that exposure to media news does influence opinions, according to Hodson on PsyPost. This may sound obvious to some readers, but some argue that its simply self-selection (for example, those on the right are simply more drawn to right-wing news sources) although we do not suggest that right-leaning news consumption is likely to influence future perceptions, both longitudinally and experimentally.

The analysis, like all the research, includes some limitations.

We used Canadian undergraduates for cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis, according to Hodson. Moreover, news media is only one source of news exposure. This is because social media also involves communication from news media, which means this should be eliminated.

The study, which examined the news media''s influence on sociopolitical attitudes, was published on March 9, 2022.

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