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date: 21 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

As cultural sociology has begun to incorporate more detailed models of cognition into its theories, one promising area for further theoretical and methodological development is the study of media and communication. To this end, this chapter reviews interdisciplinary research on priming and framing, two closely related concepts that have been subject to much debate in psychology, communication studies, and political science. Priming is often said to focus on what information is presented and framing on how information is presented, although these elements overlap in actual communication practices. While some scholars define framing to encompass both the what and the how of communication, others subsume framing under agenda setting as a second-order priming effect, and yet others advocate separating the theories of priming and framing because they have different assumptions. Rather than taking a position within these debates, this chapter identifies eight dimensions of communication and cognition that can be used as a conceptual toolkit for reflecting on and designing studies of framing and priming using observational data. Whether future studies use one or the other or neither concept, giving attention to issues raised in these interdisciplinary debates can help clarify both theoretical and methodological approaches to cognitively-oriented sociology.

Keywords: cognition, framing, priming, agenda setting, communication studies, psychology, political science, sociology, culture, sociological theory, research methods

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