Most of my papers can be downloaded from the “Papers” section of this site.

Political misperceptions and the Internet

The past three U.S. Presidential elections have provided a fascinating window into how the Internet is shaping the flow of political misperceptions. Using a nationally representative survey conducted in 2008, representative three-wave panels conducted in 2012 and 2016, and online experiments, my students and I are examining the relationship between online news use, exposure to falsehoods and their rebuttals, and beliefs.

Read more about my latest research on this topic here: http://wp.comm.ohio-state.edu/misperceptions/.

Relevant articles

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

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

Garrett, R. K. (2011). Troubling consequences of online political rumoring. Human Communication Research, 37(2), 255-274. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2958.2010.01401.x

Garrett, R. K., Nisbet, E. C., & Lynch, E. K. (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

Garrett, R. K., & Weeks, B. E. (2013, February 23–27). The Promise and Peril of Real-Time Corrections to Political Misperceptions. Paper presented at the CSCW ’13 Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Computer supported cooperative work, San Antonio, TX.

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

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

Selective exposure to online political information

Selective exposure describes the active role that individuals play in shaping their information environment. My core contribution to this area of research is to demonstrate that an attraction to pro-attitudinal information and an aversion to counter-attitudinal information are distinct, and that the former is much more common than the latter.  This has important implications for how we should expect individuals’ news exposure to change in the face of technologies that increase media choice and that offer recommendations based on prior exposure decisions.

Relevant articles

Carnahan, D., Garrett, R. K., & Lynch, E. (2016). Candid>te 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

Garrett, R. K. (2009). Echo chambers online?: Politically motivated selective exposure among Internet news users. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 14(2), 265-285. doi: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2009.01440.x

Garrett, R. K. (2009). Politically motivated reinforcement seeking: Reframing the selective exposure debate. Journal of Communication, 59(4), 676-699. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2009.01452.x

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

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

Garrett, R. K., Carnahan, D., & Lynch, E. K. (2013). A turn toward avoidance? Selective exposure to online political information, 2004-2008. Political Behavior, 35(1), 113-134. doi: 10.1007/s11109-011-9185-6

Garrett, R. K., Dvir-Gvirsman, S., Johnson, B. K., Tsfati, Y., Neo, R., & Dal, A. (2014). Implications of Pro- and Counterattitudinal Information Exposure for Affective Polarization. Human Communication Research, 40(3), 309-332. doi: 10.1111/hcre.12028

Garrett, R. K., & Resnick, P. (2011). Resisting Political Fragmentation on the Internet. Daedalus, 140(4), 108-120. doi: 10.1162/DAED_a_00118

Garrett, R. K., & Stroud, N. J. (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

Holbert, R. L., Garrett, R. K., & Gleason, L. S. (2010). A New Era of Minimal Effects? A Response to Bennett and Iyengar. Journal of Communication, 60(1), 15-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2009.01470.x

Partisan media and polarization

Although I do not believe that echo chamber or filter bubbles are likely to dominate the information landscape, I do have deep concerns about the influence of partisan media. Regular contact with pro-attitudinal content is enough to promote polarization and inaccuracy. Individuals do not need to avoid contact with ideas they disagree with.

Brundidge, J., Garrett, R. K., Rojas, H., & Gil de Zúñiga, H. (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

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

Garrett, R. K., Dvir-Gvirsman, S., Johnson, B. K., Tsfati, Y., Neo, R., & Dal, A. (2014). Implications of Pro- and Counterattitudinal Information Exposure for Affective Polarization. Human Communication Research, 40(3), 309-332. doi: 10.1111/hcre.12028

Holbert, R. L., Garrett, R. K., & Gleason, L. S. (2010). A New Era of Minimal Effects? A Response to Bennett and Iyengar. Journal of Communication, 60(1), 15-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2009.01470.x

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

Theoretically informed design of political news systems

I want to find ways to use our theoretical understanding of selective exposure and political misperceptions to shape the design of online news systems that help citizens become better informed. My article with Paul Resnick offers an example of what this work can look like. My work with NewsTrust is another example. NewsTrust was a non-profit organization that aimed to create a volunteer-driven news rating and fact-checking service. The organization created online tools designed to help users accurately assess the quality of news content, and that aggregated results so that visitors can quickly and easily find reliable sources and careful reporting on topics that matter to them. As a member of the advisory board from 2005-2011, when the project was taken over by Poynter, I regularly consulted on the design of the system, which provided me a unique opportunity to apply my research to real-world design problems.

Relevant articles

Garrett, R. K., & Resnick, P. (2011). Resisting Political Fragmentation on the Internet. Daedalus, 140(4), 108-120. doi: 10.1162/DAED_a_00118

Garrett, R. K., & Weeks, B. E. (2013, February 23–27). The Promise and Peril of Real-Time Corrections to Political Misperceptions. Paper presented at the CSCW ’13 Proceedings of the 2013 conference on Computer supported cooperative work, San Antonio, TX.

Social movements and new ICTs

My interest in contentious politics is the foundation for many of the projects I have undertaken. New information and communication technologies (ICTs) are being used in ways that sometimes challenge and other times affirm our notions of how citizens grapple with controversial issues and difficult decisions. A changing technological environment affords scholars a unique opportunity to learn about, and potentially shape, these important processes.

Relevant articles

Earl, J., & Garrett, R. K. (2016 online first). The new information frontier: Toward a more nuanced view of social movement communication. Social Movement Studies, Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/14742837.2016.1192028

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

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.

Garrett, R. K. (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: 10.1080/13691180600630773

Garrett, R. K., & Edwards, P. N. (2007). Revolutionary Secrets: Technology’s Role in the South African Anti-Apartheid Movement. Social Science Computer Review, 25(1), 13-26. doi: 10.1177/0894439306289556