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date: 13 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Recent research has made clear that the process by which individuals obtain information about politics through the media and other communication sources is complex and multifaceted. The effects of communication on knowledge can vary by medium or the mix of sources that individuals choose, by the motivations and background characteristics of the user, and by the type of knowledge being considered. Whether “knowledge” (as opposed to misperceptions or simply beliefs) is the end result of communication depends crucially on the nature of the information being presented and the prior beliefs of the user. The authors review the state of the art research in this domain and offer suggestions for how scholarship must adjust to the changing environment brought about by technological change and increasing partisanship and polarization among politicians, the media, and the public.

Keywords: bias, heuristics, mediation, knowledge gap, learning, misperceptions, motivation, selectivity, accuracy, credibility

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