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date: 22 April 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of the theory of selective exposure, the idea that people purposefully select messages matching their beliefs. After reviewing several psychological explanations for why the phenomenon occurs, the chapter turns to describing various forms of selective exposure. Selective exposure can be studied in terms of whether people select news or entertainment, the issues about which people seek information, which medium is selected in obtaining information, and the extent to which like-minded information is preferred. Numerous moderators of the links between citizens’ beliefs and their information selection are presented. Next, the chapter details four different methodological techniques that have been used to study selective exposure. Finally, the chapter outlines a host of unanswered questions about selective exposure for future researchers to tackle.

Keywords: selective exposure, confirmation bias, issue public, partisanship, incidental exposure, cognitive dissonance, cognitive miser, emotion, media

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