New Publication: The Degree of Homogeneity Versus Heterogeneity in Individuals’ Political News Consumption

February 16, 2024 / IRIS3D

Dr. Cornelia Sindermann

Dr. Cornelia Sindermann, a group leader at IRIS3D, together with colleagues, recently published a paper on personality, homogeneity in political news consumption, and political views.

Abstract: This work investigated the prevalence of filter bubble or echo chamber-related phenomena, psychological factors rendering individuals resilient or vulnerable to them, and their associations to political views focusing on extremity and polarization. For this, a cross-cultural replication of a study by Sindermann et al. (2021) was conducted. As an extension, multiple political views variables were assessed to examine whether the application of different conceptualizations of political views explains heterogeneous findings across previous studies. Two samples were recruited: 390 (n = 135 males) US college students and a quota sample of 489 (n = 243 males) US adults. Participants completed personality scales and measures on political news consumption homogeneity versus heterogeneity and political views. Consistent with previous research, results revealed few individuals consume political news absolutely homogeneously. Openness was negatively related to the degree of political news consumption homogeneity, and the relationship between political news consumption homogeneity and political views yielded inconsistent, often statistically nonsignificant, results. These findings challenge the prevailing notion of filter bubbles and echo chambers as widespread phenomena and indicate that relationships between political news consumption homogeneity and political views are not necessarily deleterious with respect to extremization and polarization. As such, the results suggest that these phenomena might not be as significant for the general population as previously thought. Nonetheless, certain individuals might still find themselves in filter bubbles or echo chambers and suffer from accompanying consequences. In this regard, the present work replicates findings underscoring that individuals with lower Openness exhibit greater political news consumption homogeneity.

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Dr. Cornelia Sindermann

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