Abstracts, links/DOIs, and downloadable copies of many of my papers are provided below. If you don’t see what you are looking for, please email me at the address at the bottom of this page. Cites to my work are also available via Google ScholarISI’s Research ID, and Scopus.


    A32. Garrett, R. K. (In press; online 2017). The 'echo chamber' distraction: Disinformation campaigns are the problem, not audience fragmentation. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition. doi: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2017.09.011

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1016/j.jarmac.2017.09.011 [open access through 1/31/18]

    [From Intro] The importance of the arguments made in “Beyond misinformation” (Lewandowsky, Ecker, & Cook, 2017) is difficult to underestimate.  Recognizing that the current crisis of faith in empirical evidence and in the value of expertise has roots that reach far beyond individual-level psychological processes is a crucial step in countering it.  As the authors note, there are a host of social, technological, and economic factors that contribute to the situation we face today, and accounting for these interdependent forces will enable stakeholders, including scientists, journalists, political elites, and citizens, to respond more effectively…  The primary goal of this response, however, is not to underscore the article’s insights. Those contributions speak for themselves. Lewandowsky and colleagues do, however, cover considerable intellectual territory, which necessarily requires brevity in their treatment of complex issues. I aim to explore critically an area that merits additional attention, namely the authors’ characterization of the online information environment.  The risk is that some readers might misinterpret the authors’ claims about the role of technology in a substantively important way. There is strong empirical evidence that most individuals encounter a range of political viewpoints when consuming news, a fact which is potentially obscured by references to “echo chambers” and “filter bubbles”. This has important implications for the strategies used to counter misinformation. In the absence of echo chambers, promoting contact with belief-challenging corrections is insufficient. Effectively responding to disinformation campaigns requires that we find ways to undermine beliefs that persevere despite encounters with counter-evidence.

    A31. Budak, C., Garrett, R. K., Resnick, P., & Kamin, J. (2017). Threading is Sticky: How Threaded Conversations Promote Comment System User Retention. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 1(2), Article 27.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1145/3134662 Download PDF

    The Guardian—the fifth most widely read online newspaper in the world as of 2014—changed conversations on its commenting platform by altering its design from non-threaded to single-level threaded in 2012. We studied this naturally occurring experiment to investigate the impact of conversation threading on user retention as mediated by several potential changes in conversation structure and style. Our analysis shows that the design change made new users significantly more likely to comment a second time, and that this increased stickiness is due in part to a higher fraction of comments receiving responses after the design change. In mediation analysis, other anticipated mechanisms such as reciprocal exchanges and comment civility did not help to explain users? decision to return to the commenting system; indeed, civility did not increase after the design change and reciprocity declined. These analyses show that even simple design choices can have a significant impact on news forums’ stickiness. Further, they suggest that this influence is more powerfully shaped by affordances—the new system made responding easier—than by changes in users? attention to social norms of reciprocity or civility. This has an array of implications for designers.

    A30. Garrett, R. K., & Weeks, B. E. (2017). Epistemic beliefs' role in promoting misperceptions and conspiracist ideation. PLOS ONE. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184733

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184733

    Widespread misperceptions undermine citizens’ decision-making ability. Conclusions based on falsehoods and conspiracy theories are by definition flawed. This article demonstrates that individuals’ epistemic beliefs–beliefs about the nature of knowledge and how one comes to know–have important implications for perception accuracy. The present study uses a series of large, nationally representative surveys of the U.S. population to produce valid and reliable measures of three aspects of epistemic beliefs: reliance on intuition for factual beliefs (Faith in Intuition for facts), importance of consistency between empirical evidence and beliefs (Need for evidence), and conviction that “facts” are politically constructed (Truth is political). Analyses confirm that these factors complement established predictors of misperception, substantively increasing our ability to explain both individuals’ propensity to engage in conspiracist ideation, and their willingness to embrace falsehoods about high-profile scientific and political issues. Individuals who view reality as a political construct are significantly more likely to embrace falsehoods, whereas those who believe that their conclusions must hew to available evidence tend to hold more accurate beliefs. Confidence in the ability to intuitively recognize truth is a uniquely important predictor of conspiracist ideation. Results suggest that efforts to counter misperceptions may be helped by promoting epistemic beliefs emphasizing the importance of evidence, cautious use of feelings, and trust that rigorous assessment by knowledgeable specialists is an effective guard against political manipulation.

    A29. Garrett, R. K. (2017). On retiring concepts. Annals of the International Communication Association, 41(1), 105-110. doi: 10.1080/23808985.2017.1288553

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1080/23808985.2017.1288553 Download PDF

    [Excerpt] Katz and Fialkoff have a provocative proposal. They assert that it is time to retire six concepts that communication scholars have studied for decades. This is not how we typically think about advancing theory—scientific progress is more often made by building on the foundations laid by earlier scholarship than by tearing those foundations down. But rejecting ideas that do not stand up to empirical scrutiny is an essential part of the scientific endeavor. Katz and Fialkoff’s contribution is an important reminder that left uncorrected, flaws in a field’s intellectual foundations are a serious liability, potentially jeopardizing future scholarship.

    I do not agree with Katz and Fialkoff’s recommendations, but welcome the opportunity to join this conversation…

    A28. Earl, J., & Garrett, R. K. (2017). The new information frontier: Toward a more nuanced view of social movement communication. Social Movement Studies, 16(4), 479-493. doi: 10.1080/14742837.2016.1192028

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1080/14742837.2016.1192028 Download PDF (prepress)

    The information environment that social movements face is increasingly complex, making traditional assumptions about media, messaging, and communication used in social movement studies less relevant. Building on work begun within the study of digital protest, we argue that a greater integration of political communication research within social movement studies could offer substantial research contributions. We illustrate this claim by discussing how a greater focus on audiences and message reception, as well as message context, could advance the study of social movements. Specifically, we discuss a range of topics as applied to movement research, including information overload, selective attention, perceptions of bias, the possibilities that entertainment-related communications open up, and priming, among other topics. We suggest the risks of not adapting to this changing information environment, and incorporating insights from political communication, affect both the study of contemporary (including digital) protest, as well as potentially historical protest. The possibilities opened up by this move are immense including entirely new research programs and questions.

    A27. Garrett, R. K., Weeks, B. E., & Neo, R. L. (2016). Driving a wedge between evidence and beliefs: How online ideological news exposure promotes political misperceptions. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 21(5), 331-348. doi: 10.1111/jcc4.12164

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/jcc4.12164

    This article has two goals: to provide additional evidence that exposure to ideological online news media contributes to political misperceptions, and to test three forms this media effect might take. Analyses are based on representative survey data collected during the 2012 U.S. Presidential election (N = 1,004). Panel data offer persuasive evidence that biased news site use promotes inaccurate beliefs, while cross-sectional data provide insight into the nature of these effects. There is no evidence that exposure to ideological media reduces awareness of politically unfavorable evidence, though in some circumstances biased media do promote misunderstandings of it. The strongest and most consistent influence of ideological media exposure is to encourage inaccurate beliefs regardless of what consumers know of the evidence.

    A26. Carnahan, D., Garrett, R. K., & Lynch, E. (2016). Candidate vulnerability and exposure to counter-attitudinal information: Evidence from two U.S. Presidential elections. Human Communication Research, 42(4), 577-598. doi: 10.1111/hcre.12088

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/hcre.12088 Download PDF (prepress)

    Politically motivated selective exposure has traditionally been understood through the lens of long-standing attitudes and beliefs, but the role of the environment in shaping information exposure practices merits further consideration. Citizens might respond to the political environment in their information-seeking behavior for numerous reasons. Citizens who believe their position is politically vulnerable have specific cognitive and affective needs that may make them uniquely attuned to counter-attitudinal information. In the context of a presidential election, this means that as the defeat of a supported candidate appears more likely, attention to counter-attitudinal content will increase. Data collected in the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Presidential elections support this prediction, though this relationship was observed primarily among supporters of the Republican candidate in both elections.

    A25. Dvir-Gvirsman, S., Garrett, R. K., & Tsfati, Y. (2015 online first). Why Do Partisan Audience Participate? Perceived Public Opinion as the Mediating Mechanism. Communication Research. doi: 10.1177/0093650215593145

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1177/0093650215593145 Download PDF

    The bulk of current literature on partisan media explores its various detrimental influences on the democratic sphere. This study highlights a possible positive outcome of partisan-media consumption: enhanced political participation. It is hypothesized that consumption of congruent partisan media will tilt perceptions of opinion climate so that it is viewed as more supportive of one’s views, while consumption of incongruent partisan media – as less so. Consequently, consumers of congruent partisan media will participate more, and vice versa. The hypotheses are tested using two panel studies; the first conducted during the 2012 U.S. presidential elections (N=377) while the second, during the 2013 Israeli election (N=340). In the Israeli case, survey data are supplemented with behavioral measures. All hypotheses are supported except the one regarding the effects of incongruent partisan-media exposure. The results are discussed in light of the spiral of silence theory and the selective exposure hypothesis.

    A24. Nisbet, E. C., Cooper, K. E., & Garrett, R. K. (2015). The Partisan Brain: How Dissonant Science Messages Lead Conservatives and Liberals to (Dis)trust science. ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 658(1), 36-66. doi: 10.1177/0002716214555474

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1177/0002716214555474 Download PDF (prepress)
    Download Supplemental Information PDF

    There has been deepening concern about political polarization in public attitudes toward the scientific community.  The “intrinsic thesis” attributes this polarization to psychological deficiencies among conservatives as compared to liberals.  The “contextual thesis” makes no such claims about inherent psychological differences between conservatives and liberals, but rather points to interacting institutional and psychological factors as the forces driving polarization. We evaluate the evidence for both theses in the context of developing and testing a theoretical model of audience response to dissonant science communication. Conducting a national online experiment (N=1500), we examined audience reactions to both conservative-dissonant and liberal-dissonant science messages and consequences for institutional trust in the scientific community. Our results suggest liberals and conservatives alike react negatively to dissonant science communication with resulting diminished trust in the scientific community. We discuss how our findings link to the larger debate about political polarization of science and implication for science communicators.

    Winner of the AEJ ComSHER 2016 Article of the Year award

    A23. Brundidge, Jennifer, R. Kelly Garrett, Hernando Rojas, & Homero Gil de Zúñiga. (2014). Political Participation and Ideological News Online: “Differential Gains” and “Differential Losses” in a Presidential Election Cycle. Mass Communication and Society, 17(4), 464-486. doi: 10.1080/15205436.2013.821492

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1080/15205436.2013.821492 Download PDF

    Observations of the contemporary news media environment often revolve around the topics of ideological polarization and blurred boundaries between mass and interpersonal communication. This study explores these topics though a focus on the association between ideologically oriented online news use, commenting on online news, and political participation. We hypothesize that both ideological online news use generally and pro-attitudinal online news use are positively related to political participation and that online news commenting creates “differential gains” by augmenting these relationships, but that counter-attitudinal online news use is negatively related to political participation and that online news commenting creates “differential losses” by exacerbating this relationship. Analyses of two independently collected and nationally representative surveys found that frequent ideological online news use, pro-attitudinal online news use, and commenting are all positively related to political participation. We found no evidence for differential gains as a result of online commenting but only for differential losses—counter-attitudinal online news use interacts with commenting to create a negative relationship with political participation.

    A22. Garrett, R. Kelly, & Natalie Jomini Stroud. (2014). Partisan Paths to Exposure Diversity: Differences in Pro- and Counterattitudinal News Consumption. Journal of Communication, 64(4), 680-701. doi: 10.1111/jcom.12105

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/jcom.12105 Download PDF (prepress)
    Download supplemental files (.zip)

    This study examines selective exposure to political information, arguing that attraction to pro-attitudinal information and aversion to counter-attitudinal information are distinct phenomena, and that the tendency to engage in these behaviors varies by partisanship. Data collected in a strict online experiment support these predictions. Republicans are significantly more likely to engage in selective avoidance of predominantly counter-attitudinal information than those with other partisan affiliations, while non-Republicans are significantly more likely to select a story that includes pro-attitudinal information, regardless of its counter-attitudinal content. Individuals across the political spectrum are receptive to predominantly pro-attitudinal content and to content that offers a mix of views, but the form these preferences take varies by partisanship. The political significance of these findings is discussed.

    A21. Weeks, Brian E., & R. Kelly Garrett. (2014). Electoral Consequences of Political Rumors: Motivated Reasoning, Candidate Rumors, and Vote Choice during the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 26(4), 401-422. doi: 10.1093/ijpor/edu005

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1093/ijpor/edu005 Download PDF

    Using national telephone survey data collected immediately after the 2008 U.S. presidential election (N = 600), this study examines real-world consequences of inaccurate political rumors. First, individuals more willingly believe negative rumors about a candidate from the opposing party than from their party. However, rumor rebuttals are uniformly effective and do not produce backfire effects. Second, the probability of voting for a candidate decreases when rumors about that candidate are believed, and believing rumors about an opposed candidate reinforces a vote for the preferred candidate. This belief-vote link is not a result of the spurious influence of party affiliation, as rumor belief uniquely contributes to vote choice. The evidence suggests political rumoring is not innocuous chatter but rather can have important electoral consequences.

    A20. Garrett, R. Kelly, Shira Dvir Gvirsman, Benjamin K. Johnson, Yariv Tsfati, Rachel Neo, & Aysenur Dal. (2014). Implications of Pro- and Counterattitudinal Information Exposure for Affective Polarization. Human Communication Research, 40(3), 309-332. doi: 10.1111/hcre.12028

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/hcre.12028 Download prepress PDF

    The American electorate is characterized by political polarization, and especially by increasingly negative affective responses toward opposing party members. To what extent might this be attributed to exposure to information reinforcing individuals’ partisan identity versus information representing the views of partisan opponents? And is this a uniquely American phenomenon? This study uses survey data collected immediately following recent national elections in two countries, the United States and Israel, to address these questions. Results across the two nations are generally consistent, and indicate that pro- and counterattitudinal information exposure has distinct influences on perceptions of and attitudes toward members of opposing parties, despite numerous cross-cultural differences. We discuss implications in light of recent evidence about partisans’ tendency to engage in selective exposure.

    Winner of the AEJMC Political Communication Interest Group’s Lynda Lee Kaid Best Published Paper in Political Communication 2014

    A19. Garrett, R. Kelly. (2013). Selective Exposure: New Methods and New Directions. Communication Methods and Measures, 7(3-4), 247-256. doi: 10.1080/19312458.2013.835796

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1080/19312458.2013.835796 Download PDF

    This special issue of Communication Methods and Measures tackles difficult questions relating to the empirical study of politically motivated selective exposure. In this brief response, I reflect on the state of the research area and attempt to bring these articles into conversation with one another and with the larger field. My essay is organized in terms of four broad themes: the debate over selective avoidance, the value of big data, the changing technological landscape, and the emphasis on boundary conditions. Collectively, the works in this issue raise important methodological questions and provide theoretical and empirical guidance for how scholars might answer them going forward. Coupled with innovative theorizing, these insights promise to advance our field in important ways.

    A18. Garrett, R. Kelly, Erik C. Nisbet, & Emily K. Lynch. (2013). Undermining the corrective effects of media-based political fact checking? The role of contextual cues and naïve theory. Journal of Communication, 63(4), 617-637. doi: 10.1111/jcom.12038

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/jcom.12038 Download PDF

    Media-based fact checking contributes to more accurate political knowledge, but its corrective effects are limited. We argue that biographical information included in a corrective message, which is often unrelated to the inaccurate claim itself, can activate misperception-congruent naïve theories, increasing confidence in a misperception’s plausibility and inducing skepticism toward denials. Resistance to corrections occurs regardless of initial belief accuracy, but the effect is strongest among those who find the contextual information objectionable or threatening. We test these claims using an online survey-embedded experiment (N=750) conducted in the wake of the controversy over the proposed Islamic cultural center in NYC near the site of the 9/11 attacks, and find support for our predictions. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

    A17. Garrett, R. Kelly, Carnahan, Dustin, & Lynch, Emily K. (2013). A turn toward avoidance? Selective exposure to online political information, 2004-2008. Political Behavior, 35(1), 113-134.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1007/s11109-011-9185-6 Download PDF

    Scholars warn that avoidance of attitude-discrepant political information is becoming increasingly common due in part to an ideologically fragmented online news environment that allows individuals to systematically eschew contact with ideas that differ from their own. Data collected over a series of national RDD surveys conducted between 2004 and 2008 challenge this assertion, demonstrating that Americans’ use of attitude-consistent political sources is positively correlated with use of more attitudinally challenging sources. This pattern holds over time and across different types of online outlets, and applies even among those most strongly committed to their political ideology, although the relationship is weaker for this group. Implications for these findings are discussed.

    Featured on USAPP, the London School of Economics’ blog on American Politics and Policy

    A16. Garrett, R. Kelly, Bimber, Bruce, Gil de Zuniga, Homero, Heinderyckx, François, Kelly, John, & Smith, Marc. (2012). New ICTs and the study of political communication. International Journal of Communication, 6, 214-231.

    DOI/publisher link: IJOC Vol 6 (2012) [open access]

    What is the relationship between new information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the study of global political communication? This article reflects briefly on four important aspects of this complex question. We begin at the most concrete level, outlining several prominent empirical opportunities and challenges created by a globally interconnected digital communication network. Next, we examine how new ICTs matter, exploring the mechanisms through which diverse contemporary technologies alter the dynamics of political communication. Third, we consider what the changing landscape of mediated communication means for political communication theory. There is tension between the opportunity to advance existing theory and the need for radical new theorizing, and we argue that both approaches are relevant. We conclude by mapping out important research opportunities located at the intersection of new ICTs and political communication.

    A15. Kim, Young Mie, & Garrett, Kelly. (2012). On-line and Memory-based: Revisiting the Relationship Between Candidate Evaluation Processing Models. Political Behavior, 34(2), 345-368.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1007/s11109-011-9158-9 Download PDF

    Reexamining the relationship between the on-line and memory-based information processing models, this study presents a theoretical basis for the co-occurrence of on-line and memorybased processes and proposes a hybrid model. The study empirically tests the hybrid model by employing real-time tracking of participants’ reactions to two candidates in a U.S. presidential primary election debate. The findings confirm an independent, but complementary relationship between on-line and memory-based information processing in an individual’s candidate evaluation and vote choice. The co-occurrence of the two modes applies to an individual’s comparison of candidates as well. The implications of the hybrid model for the functioning of democracy are discussed.

    A14. Garrett, R. Kelly, & Resnick, Paul. (2011). Resisting Political Fragmentation on the Internet. Daedalus, 140(4), 108-120.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1162/DAED_a_00118 Download PDF

    Must the Internet promote political fragmentation? Although this is a possible outcome of personalized online news, we argue that other futures are possible, and that thoughtful design could promote more socially desirable behavior. Research has shown that individuals crave opinion reinforcement more than they avoid exposure to diverse viewpoints, and that in many situations hearing the other side is desirable. We suggest that knowing this, software designers ought to be able to create tools that encourage and facilitate consumption of diverse news streams, making users, and society, better off. We suggest several techniques to help to achieve this goal. One approach focuses on making useful or intriguing opinion-challenges more accessible. The other centers on nudging people toward diversity by creating environments that accentuate its benefits. Advancing research in this area is critical in the face of increasingly partisan news media, and we believe these strategies can help.

    A13. Garrett, R. Kelly. (2011). Troubling consequences of online political rumoring. Human Communication Research, 37(2), 255-274.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.2010.01401.x Download PDF

    Fear that the Internet promotes harmful political rumoring is merited, but not for reasons originally anticipated. Although the network accelerates and widens rumor circulation, on the whole it does not increase recipient credulity. Email, however, which fosters informal political communication within existing social networks, poses a unique threat to factual political knowledge. A national telephone survey conducted immediately after the 2008 U.S. Presidential election provides evidence that aggregate Internet use promotes exposure to both rumors and their rebuttals, but that the total effect on rumor beliefs is negligible. More troublingly, the data demonstrate that rumors emailed to friends/family are more likely to be believed and shared with others, and that these patterns of circulation and belief exhibit strong political biases.

    News media coverage.

    A12. Garrett, R. Kelly, & Danziger, James N. (2011). The Internet Electorate. Communications of the ACM, 54(3), 117-123.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1145/1897852.1897881 Download PDF

    The 2008 Presidential election offers evidence that the Internet is evolving as both a major source of political information and an instrument of political expression.

    A11. Garrett, R. Kelly, & Jensen, Michael J. (2011). E-Democracy writ small: The impact of the Internet on citizen access to local elected officials.Information, Communication & Society, 14(2), 177-197.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1080/1369118X.2010.490558 Download PDF

    This article examines how elected officials’ interactions with neighborhood groups, business interests, issue groups, and other stakeholders are shaped by their use of the Internet and by the characteristics of the local e-government. The study utilizes data from a nationwide survey of local elected officials and from an analysis of corresponding local government websites. Results show that Internet use is associated with a significant increase in contact with stakeholders and with increasingly diverse types of communication partners, even after controlling for officials’ general propensity to communicate. Both time spent on official duties and city size moderate the influence of the Internet. However, local government web sites do not appear to have a substantive influence on citizen’s participation in policy making.

    A10. Holbert, R. Lance, Garrett, R. Kelly, & Gleason, Laurel S. (2010). A New Era of Minimal Effects? A Response to Bennett and Iyengar. Journal of Communication, 60(1), 15-34.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2009.01470.x Download PDF

    This article takes up Bennett and Iyengar’s (2008) call for debate about the future of political communication effects research. We outline 4 key criticisms. First, Bennett and Iyengar are too quick to dismiss the importance of attitude reinforcement, long recognized as an important type of political media influence. Second, the authors take too narrow a view of the sources of political information, remaining fixated on news. Third, they offer an incomplete portrayal of selective exposure, exaggerating the extent to which individuals avoid attitude-discrepant information. Finally, they lean toward determinism when describing the role technologies play in shaping our political environment. In addition, we challenge Bennett and Iyengar’s assertion that only brand new theory can serve to help researchers understand today’s political communication landscape. We argue that existing tools, notably the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), retain much utility for examining political media effects. Contrary to Bennett and Iyengar’s claims, the ELM suggests that the contemporary political information environment does not necessarily lead to minimal effects.

    A9. Garrett, R. Kelly. (2009). Politically motivated reinforcement seeking: Reframing the selective exposure debate. Journal of Communication, 59(4), 676-699.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2009.01452.x Download PDF

    This article seeks to reframe the selective exposure debate by demonstrating that people exhibit a preference for opinion-reinforcing political information without systematically avoiding opinion challenges. The findings have important implications for individuals’ exposure to cross-cutting political ideas in a contemporary news environment that affords an unprecedented level of choice. These results are based on data collected in a national random-digit dial telephone survey (n=1,510) conducted prior to the 2004 U.S. presidential election. Analyses show that Americans use the control afforded by online information sources to increase their exposure to opinions that are consistent with their own views without sacrificing contact with other opinions. This observation contradicts the common assumption that reinforcement seeking and challenge avoidance are intrinsically linked aspects of the selective exposure phenomenon. This distinction is important because the consequences of challenge avoidance are significantly more harmful to democratic deliberation than those of reinforcement seeking.

    Winner of the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR) McQuail Award for the Best Article Advancing Communication Theory in 2009

    A8. Garrett, R. Kelly. (2009). Echo chambers online?: Politically motivated selective exposure among Internet news users. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(2), 265-285.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01440.x Download PDF

    A review of research suggests that the desire for opinion reinforcement may play a more important role in shaping individuals’ exposure to online political information than an aversion to opinion challenge. The article tests this idea using data collected via a web-administered behavior-tracking study with subjects recruited from the readership of two partisan online news sites (N=727). The results demonstrate that opinion-reinforcing information promotes news story exposure while opinion-challenging information makes exposure marginally less likely. The influence of both factors is modest, but opinion-reinforcing information is a more important predictor. Having decided to view a news story, evidence of an aversion to opinion challenges disappears: there is no evidence that individuals abandon news stories that contain information with which they disagree. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

    A7. Garrett, R. Kelly, & Danziger, James N. (2008). Disaffection or expected outcomes: Understanding personal Internet use during work. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(4), 937-958.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2008.00425.x Download PDF

    Many contemporary analyses of personal Internet use during work explain the behavior in terms of workplace disaffection. However, evidence for this interpretation is mixed. This article posits that an approach emphasizing the expected outcomes of Internet use more effectively explains the behavior. The two approaches are tested using survey data collected from more than 1,000 U.S.-based computer-using workers. About four-fifths of those workers do engage in personal Internet use during work. Regression analyses show that workplace disaffection factors, such as stress and dissatisfaction, have no significant influence on the extent of web surfing or personal email use during work. In contrast, factors which shape the expected outcomes of personal Internet use during work, such as a generalized positive perception of the utility of the Internet, routinized use of computers, job commitment, and organizational restrictions on computer use, are very significant predictors of such behavior. These results suggest that employees use the Internet for personal purposes at work for many of the same reasons that they use it elsewhere. Implications of these findings are explored.

    A6. Garrett, R. Kelly, & Danziger, James N. (2008). On cyberslacking: Workplace status and personal Internet use at work. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11(3), 287-292.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1089/cpb.2007.0146 Download PDF

    Is personal Internet use at work primarily the domain of lower-status employees, or do individuals higher up the organizational hierarchy engage in this activity at equal or even greater levels? We posit that higher workplace status is associated with significant incentives and greater opportunities for personal Internet use. We test this hypothesis using data collected via a recent national telephone survey (n = 1,024). Regression analyses demonstrate that, contrary to conventional wisdom, higher-status employees, as measured by occupation status, job autonomy, income, education, and gender, engage in significantly more frequent personal Internet use at work.

    A5. Garrett, R. Kelly, & Danziger, James N. (2007). IM=Interruption Management? Instant messaging and disruption in the workplace. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), 23-42.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2007.00384.x Download PDF

    Some scholars worry that Instant Messaging (IM), by virtue of the ease with which users can initiate and participate in online conversations, contributes to an increase in task interruption. Others argue that workers use IM strategically, employing it in ways that reduce interruption. This article examines the relationship between IM and interruption, using data collected via a (U.S.) national telephone survey of full-time workers who regularly use computers (N=912). Analysis of these data indicates that IM use has no influence on overall levels of work communication. However, people who utilize IM at work report being interrupted less frequently than non-users, and they engage in more frequent computer-mediated communication than non-users, including both work-related and personal communication. These results are consistent with claims that employees use IM in ways that help them to manage interruption, such as quickly obtaining task-relevant information and negotiating conversational availability.

    A4. Garrett, R. Kelly, & Edward, Paul N. (2007). Revolutionary Secrets: Technology’s Role in the South African Anti-Apartheid Movement. Social Science Computer Review, 25(1), 13-26.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1177/0894439306289556 Download PDF

    In the late 1980s, Operation Vula brought exiled ANC leaders and military capacity into South Africa despite legal and military obstacles. According to participants, a purpose-built encrypted communication system was critical to this success. The communications network made possible an unprecedented level of information exchange among ANC leaders. How can we understand the role of this system in the operation’s success? Was it simply a catalyst or facilitator for a social process of reorganizing and reinvigorating ANC leadership? If so, would this have happened anyway or by other means? Or did the communication system actively and crucially change the political situation? Without it, might the apartheid government have hung on for longer, or managed — as it intended — to discredit the ANC and retain a privileged political role for whites in the post-apartheid dispensation? Exploring the Vula case reveals major deficiencies in the existing literature on this topic. We need to move beyond the simple statement that communication technology influenced political capacity to answer the deeper questions of how, when, and why. In this article, we use the Vula case to identify four key factors affecting the answer to these questions regarding the interaction between new information and communication technologies (ICTs) and social movements. These factors are (1) ongoing technological innovation, (2) user practices, (3) technical competence, and (4) routines. By failing to consider them, scholars have oversimplified the process of sociotechnical change and hampered their ability to understand the relationship between ICTs and contentious political activity.

    A3. Garrett, R. Kelly, & Danziger, James N. (2007). Which telework? Defining and testing a taxonomy of technology-mediated work at a distance. Social Science Computer Review, 25(1), 27-47.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1177/0894439306293819 Download PDF

    Telework has been the subject of study for more than a quarter century, yet its causes and consequences are poorly understood. A key reason for this shortcoming is that scholars define and use the concept in many different ways. This article presents a taxonomy of telework, distinguishing between three distinct forms: fixed-site telework, mobile telework, and flexiwork. It then offers a series of research questions about the associations between these three types of telework and a variety of other factors. Using data collected in a national telephone survey of more than 1,200 U.S. computer-using workers, we demonstrate empirically that the three types of teleworkers are unique along key dimensions regarding their individual characteristics, organizational and technological contexts, and the impacts on their work.

    A2. Garrett, R. Kelly. (2006). Protest in an Information Society: A Review of Literature on Social Movements and New ICTs. Information, Communication and Society, 9(2), 202-224.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1080/13691180600630773 Download PDF

    New Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are changing the ways in which activists communicate, collaborate, and demonstrate. Scholars from a wide range of disciplines, among them sociology, political science, and communication, are working to understand these changes. The diversity of perspectives represented enriches the literature, providing an abundant repertoire of tools for examining these phenomena, but it is also an obstacle to understanding. Few works are commonly cited across the field, and most are known only with the confines of their discipline. The absence of a common set of organizing theoretical principles can make it difficult to find connections between these disparate works beyond their common subject matter. This paper responds by locating existing scholarship within McAdam, McCarthy, and Zald’s framework for explaining the emergence, development, and outcomes of social movement activity. This provides a logical structure that facilitates conversations across the field around common issues of concern, highlighting connections between scholars and research agendas that might otherwise be difficult to discern.

    A1. Markey, Karen, Armstrong, Annie, DeGroote, Sandy, Forsmire, Michael, Fuderer, Laura, Garrett, Kelly, . . . Warner, Joni E. (2005). Testing the effectiveness of interactive multimedia for library-user education. portal: Libraries and the Academy, 5(4), 527-544

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1353/pla.2005.0056

    A test of the effectiveness of interactive multimedia Web sites demonstrates that library users’ topic knowledge was significantly greater after visiting the sites than before. Library users want more such sites about library services, their majors, and campus life generally. Librarians describe the roles they want to play on multimedia production teams after working on the LUMENS Project. Introduction In portal’s October 2003 issue, this paper’s principal author described the LUMENS Project to train librarians to build interactive multimedia shows using Macromedia Flash and to enlist library users in a test of these shows to determine whether interactive multimedia shows are effective vehicles for conveying library-user education content.


    P2. Garrett, R. Kelly, & Weeks, Brian E. (2013, February 23–27). The Promise and Peril of Real-Time Corrections to Political Misperceptions.Paper presented at the Proceedings of the ACM 2013 conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2013), San Antonio, TX.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1145/2441776.2441895 Download PDF

    Computer scientists have responded to the high prevalence of inaccurate political information online by creating systems that identify and flag false claims. Warning users of inaccurate information as it is displayed has obvious appeal, but it also poses risk. Compared to post-exposure corrections, real-time corrections may cause users to be more resistant to factual information. This paper presents an experiment comparing the effects of real-time corrections to corrections that are presented after a short distractor task. Although real-time corrections are modestly more effective than delayed corrections overall, closer inspection reveals that this is only true among individuals predisposed to reject the false claim. In contrast, individuals whose attitudes are supported by the inaccurate information distrust the source more when corrections are presented in real time, yielding beliefs comparable to those never exposed to a correction. We find no evidence of real-time corrections encouraging counterargument. Strategies for reducing these biases are discussed.

    News media coverage.

    P1. Lampe, Cliff, & Garrett, R. Kelly. (2007, January 3-6). It’s All News to Me: The Effect of Instruments on Ratings Provision. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on System Science, Waikoloa, Hawaii.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1109/HICSS.2007.308 Download PDF

    In this paper, we address an issue of design in online rating systems: how many items should be elicited from the ratings provider. Recommender and reputation systems have traditionally relied on single-dimension ratings to reduce user burden, but for some types of information this amount of feedback may be insufficient. We presented users of an online news rating service with different numbers of items in a news rating exercise. We find that users show the highest satisfaction and greatest rating accuracy with a multi-item reviewing instrument.

Book Chapters

    C5. Garrett, R. K. (In press; online 2017). Strategies for Countering False Information and Beliefs about Climate Change. In M. C. Nisbet, M. Schafer, E. Markowitz, S. Ho, S. O'Neill & J. Thaker (Eds.), Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.388

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1093/acrefore/9780190228620.013.388

    Misperceptions about climate change are widespread, and efforts to correct them must be grounded in an understanding of the factors, both individual and social, that contribute to them. These factors can be organized into four broad categories: motivated reasoning, non-motivated information processing biases, social dynamics, and the information environment. Each type of factor is associated with a host of related strategies for countering false information and beliefs. Motivated biases can be reduced with affirmations, by attempting to depoliticize the issue, and via an evidentiary “tipping point”. Other cognitive biases highlight the importance of clarity, simplicity, and repetition. And because beliefs often serve an important sense-making function, alternative explanations for important events may prove an important complement to novel evidence. Message presentation techniques can also facilitate updating beliefs. Beliefs also have an important social dimension. Attending to these factors shows the importance of strategies that include: ensuring that lay people consistently have the tools that help them evaluate experts; promoting confidence among those who hold accurate beliefs; facilitating diverse, unsegregated social networks; and providing corrections from unexpected sources. Finally, the prevalence of misinformation in the information environment is highly problematic. Strategies that news organization can employ include avoiding false balance, adjudicating among contradictory claims, and encouraging accuracy on the part of political elites via fact checking.  New technologies may also prove an important tool: search engines that give preferential treatment to accurate information, and automated recommendations of accurate information following exposure to inaccurate information both have the potential to change how individuals learn about climate change.

    C4. Eveland Jr, William P., & R. Kelly Garrett. (2017; online 2014). Communication Modalities and Political Knowledge. In K. Kenski & K. H. Jamieson (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Political Communication: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199793471.013.018

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199793471.013.018 Download PDF

    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 multi-faceted. 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 or not “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. We 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.

    C3. Earl, J., Hunt, J., Garrett, R. K., & Dal, A. (2014). New Technologies and Social Movements. In D. Della Porta & M. Diani (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Social Movements.

    DOI/publisher link: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199678402.013.20

    The chapter examines two major impacts of increasingly pervasive information and communication technologies (ICT) usage, one on protest and social movements themselves and another on scholarship about these phenomena. For the former, we review research on ICT-enabled infrastructural changes within movements, including: (1) the introduction of new formats of protest and a new model of power; (2) the ability to organize outside of formal social movement organizations (SMOs) and/or within dramatically altered SMOs; and (3) the facilitation of transnational and non-Western protest and social movements. Regarding social movement scholarship, we argue that the information-saturated environments that social movements operate within increasingly require scholars to draw on political communication research. This connection may lead social movement scholars to complicate existing understandings (e.g., agenda setting), identify hitherto unexamined determinants of social movement effectiveness (e.g., priming), and add nuance to social movement scholars’ understanding of audiences and audience reception, among other topics.

    C2. Earl, J., Hunt, J., & Garrett, R. K. (2014). Social movements and the ICT Revolution. In H.-A. v. d. Heijden (Ed.), Handbook of Political Citizenship and Social Movements (pp. 359-383). Northhampton, MA: Edward Elgar.

    DOI/publisher link: Publisher's website Download PDF

    [excerpt from intro] In this chapter, we review important developments in the field, highlighting central theoretical questions and debates and summarizing key findings. We focus on two levels at which theoretical discussion and debate have taken place. First, there have been “grand” level debates about whether or not ICT usage has impacts on activism and social movements, and, if so, whether these effects are the product of amplifying well-known social movement processes (e.g., making diffusion happen faster or diffuse farther) or they represent a more fundamental transformation of our models of social movement activity.

    Second, theoretical discussion and debate has also taken place within established social movement subfields, such as within research on repression, movement outcomes, etc. At times, these discussions are linked to the grand-level debate with which we begin. For instance, we consider at length research examining whether the role of social movement organizations is
    fundamentally altered by more extensive ICT usage. At other times, ICT-related research focuses on issues that have been long central to social movement subfields without reflecting on the larger animating debate, as is the case with research on repression and the Internet.

    C1. Garrett, R. K. (2008). Selective processes. In L. L. Kaid & C. Holtz-Bacha (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Political Communication. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

    DOI/publisher link: Publisher's website Download PDF

    [Excerpt from paper] Selective processes are the means by which individuals’ preexisting beliefs shape their use of information in a complex environment. Current interests and opinions influence the acquisition (selective exposure), evaluation (selective perception), and retention (selective memory) of political information. As a consequence, individuals tend to be more knowledgeable about personally salient topics than about topics that do not interest them, and they tend to know more of the evidence supporting their political opinions than they know about other perspectives. These characteristics limit individuals’ ability to revise their political beliefs in response to new evidence and promote political polarization because existing opinions receive systematic reinforcement. Though these processes have rich roots in political communication, there is also significant research on the processes in nonpolitical contexts.


    R3. Nisbet, E., & Garrett, K. (2010). FOX News contributes to spread of rumors about proposed NYC mosque: CNN and NPR promote more accurate beliefs; Belief in rumors associated with opposition to the NYC mosque and to mosques in general. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University.

    DOI/publisher link: N/A Download PDF


    Previous research has shown that the mass media has a poor track record on reporting about Islam and Muslim Americans, often contributing to negative stereotypes and attitudes about Islam, Muslim Americans, and their civil liberties. Media researchers have long argued that the American press have adopted a conflict narrative that negatively influences the preponderance of their reporting about Islam and worsens intergroup relations. Others have argued that American media disproportionately link Islam to terrorism and do not sufficiently differentiate between Islam as a whole and radical Islamists in their reporting.
    In this context, this study examines how reliance on specific media outlets for news and information is associated with the exposure to and belief in false rumors about the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero. In addition, the study also examines what impact belief in false rumors has on opposition to the proposed mosque project, as well as opposition to the building of mosques in general.

    R2. Garrett, K., & Nisbet, E. (2010). Belief in rumors hard to dispel: Fact checking easily undermined by images, unrelated facts. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University.

    DOI/publisher link: N/A Download PDDF


    Recent research suggests that a variety of factors can contribute to this behavior. We know, for example, that people are more inclined to believe political smears about candidates they perceive to be socially different. And in some cases, efforts to correct misinformation can actually backfire, leading people to embrace their inaccurate beliefs. Our question was whether information included in a rebuttal, but unrelated to the rumor, could also play a role. Specifically, we wanted to know whether
    images or unrelated opinions might shape people’s reaction to a factual rebuttal.
    The controversy over the proposed construction of a cultural center and mosque in New York City just a few blocks from Ground Zero provides the backdrop for this study. We presented participants in the study with one of several different versions of a rebuttal to a rumor about the Imam backing the project. We find that including information unrelated to the rumor in the rebuttal powerfully influences people’s decision to accept or reject the factual information.

    R1. Horrigan, John, Garrett, Kelly, & Resnick, Paul. (2004). The internet and democratic debate. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project.

    DOI/publisher link: Pew Internet & American Life Project website [open access]


    Increasing numbers of Americans are getting news and information about politics online. More than 40% of those who use the Internet have gotten political material during this campaign, according to the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press, more than 50% higher than the number who had gotten such information in the 2000 campaign.

    As Internet use has grown, prominent commentators and scholars have expressed concern that this would be harmful to democratic deliberation. They worried that citizens would use the Internet to seek information that reinforced their political preferences and avoid material that challenged their views. They feared that people would use Internet tools to customize and insulate their information inputs to a degree that held troubling implications for American society. Democracy functions best when people consider a range of arguments, including those that challenge their viewpoint. If people screened out information that disputed their beliefs, then the chances for meaningful discourse on great issues would be stunted and civic polarization would grow.

    The Pew Internet & American Life Project and the University of Michigan School of Information conducted a survey in June to test those concerns. We focused on the role of the Internet related to four dimensions of contemporary politics: the arguments anchoring the campaign between George W. Bush and John Kerry; the arguments for and against the war in Iraq; the arguments for and against gay marriage; and the arguments for and against free trade. And our survey results belie the greatest fears about the impact of the Internet on democracy…


    M1. Exposure to Controversy in an Information Society, unpublished dissertation, 2005.

    DOI/publisher link: University of Michigan Deep Blue Research Collection [open access]


    New information and communication technologies (ICTs) are rapidly becoming an important mechanism for delivering political news, competing with traditional sources such as newspapers. Scholars are concerned about what this will mean for individuals’ exposure to information about controversial political issues. Networked information processing systems afford unprecedented control over information exposure, and individuals may use this capacity to avoid information that challenges their position, producing political polarization.

    This research project examines how people use new ICTs to acquire information about contentious political issues. Prior research has shown that an individual’s opinion influences his or her attitude toward new information, but the expression of this influence is a topic of debate. The central concern is that an individual will seek consonant (supportive) information and avoid dissonant (challenging) information. There is evidence, however, that the effect may be more complicated. I hypothesize that although individuals seek consonant information, they do not avoid dissonant information. My dissertation uses a national telephone survey and a Web-administered experiment to test these hypotheses.

    Winner of the NCA’s G.R. Miller Award for Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in 2006.

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