Student working on a research project.

Experimental Test Of How Communication Technologies Lead To Political Polarization

Description: The social and political impact of modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) is often poorly understood. This is especially true of the unintended or second-order effects of ICTs. One such web-based technology is customizability -- it enables users to efficiently obtain information on topics and from Internet sources that they like, and screen out information and sources that they dislike. Although, on its face, customizability technology appears very useful, it can lead to significant negative political and societal effects, including increasing selective exposure (exposure to politically like-minded information) and political polarization (political attitudes growing more extreme). This study experimentally tests such effects.

Student research assistants will help edit short political news articles used during this experiment, will help edit study survey, and will help with various other aspects of this research. This study has significant practical and theoretical implications, and will help students understand the role of communication technology in politics, will familiarize students with various social scientific research methods (i.e., experiments and surveys), and help prepare students for graduate school and professional careers in such diverse fields as social media, political communication, public opinion, media effects, and communication technology.

Research Project Information

Disciplines: Psychology, Computer Science, Behavioral Science, Political Communication
Student Skill-Set Needed: Excellent writing skills (background in journalism writing is a big plus), ability to work independently, reliability, desire to learn, attention to detail, being a good team player
Compensation: Academic Credit, Volunteer
Available: Fall, Summer


For further information on this opportunity, or to apply, contact:

Faculty Member: Ivan Dylko
Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Communication
Office: 307 Baldy Hall
Phone: 6149758275