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Murrow Political Communication Research Group The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

Hmielowski & Hutchens paper accepted to IJPOR

Jay Hmielowski, Michael Beam (Kent State), and Myiah Hutchens recently had a paper accepted for publication at the International Journal of Public Opinion research. Their paper looked at whether the effects of TV news viewing on polarization changed after 1996. 1996 serves as an important year because the US Congress passed the 1996 Telecommunication Act, which opened the door to partisan media outlets on cable (e.g., Fox News, which started broadcasting in 1996). Their results showed an increase in polarization post-1996. More importantly, they found that TV new use did not contribute to increased levels of polarization prior to 1996. However, post-1996 they found that the more time spent with TV news was associated with higher levels of polarization.

Flaming Paper at Cyber Psychology

Vincent Cicchirillo (University of Texas at Austin), Jay Hmielowski, & Myiah Hutchens recently had a paper accepted for publication at the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Their paper looked at the relationship between watching more contentious political news content (e.g., Hannity, The O’Reilly Factor) and people’s perceptions of whether it is acceptable to use aggressive tactics when talking about politics with other people online. Their study found a mainstreaming effect of watching this content on people’s perceptions and willingness to use aggressive tactics in online discussion spaces. Specifically, people with higher levels of trait verbal aggression (i.e., individuals who tend to use aggressive tactics when communicating with others) showed decreases in their willingness and perceived acceptability of using aggressive tactics when talking to others online. By contrast, individuals low in verbal aggression showed greater tendencies to use aggressive tactics and perceive this as acceptable behavior. Their article can be found in the most recent issue of Cyberpsychology here.

Hutchens, Hmielowski & Beam in latest Mass Communication & Society

Myiah Hutchens, Jay Hmielowski, and Michael Beam (Kent State) were published in the latest issue of MC&S. Their research examined the relationship between partisan media and structural knowledge utilizing understanding of the Affordable Care Act as the content area of interest. They examined whether or not exposure to partisan media had differential effects on attitudinal ambivalence – holding both positive and negative attitudes towards an object – based on the political ideology of the respondent, and whether or not this impact of ambivalence influenced structural knowledge. Their results show that exposure to attitude-consistent media decreased attitudinal ambivalence. This exposure to attitude-consistent media results in a positive indirect effect on structural knowledge through this decrease in ambivalence. The reverse effect was observed for use of attitude-inconsistent media. The full article can be found here.