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Citizens as Complicits: Distrust in Politicians and Biased Social Dissemination of Political Information

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Citizens as Complicits: Distrust in Politicians and Biased Social Dissemination of Political Information. / Bøggild, Troels; Aarøe, Lene; Petersen, Michael Bang.

I: American Political Science Review, Bind 115, Nr. 1, 02.2021, s. 269-285.

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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@article{f5448cbf2bf4489e9255da504fbe3310,
title = "Citizens as Complicits: Distrust in Politicians and Biased Social Dissemination of Political Information",
abstract = "Widespread distrust in politicians is often attributed to the way elites portray politics to citizens: the media, competing candidates, and foreign governments are largely considered responsible for portraying politicians as self-interested actors pursuing personal electoral and economic interests. This article turns to the mass level and considers the active role of citizens in disseminating such information. We build on psychological research on human cooperation, holding that people exhibit an interpersonal transmission bias in favor of information on the self-interested, antisocial behavior of others to maintain group cooperation. We posit that this transmission bias extends to politics, causing citizens to disproportionally disseminate information on self-interested politicians through interpersonal communication and, in turn, contributes to distrust in politicians and policy disapproval. We support these predictions using novel experimental studies allowing us to observe transmission rates and opinion effects in actual communication chains. The findings have implications for understanding and accommodating political distrust.",
author = "Troels B{\o}ggild and Lene Aar{\o}e and Petersen, {Michael Bang}",
year = "2021",
month = feb,
doi = "10.1017/S0003055420000805",
language = "English",
volume = "115",
pages = "269--285",
journal = "American Political Science Review",
issn = "0003-0554",
publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
number = "1",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - Citizens as Complicits: Distrust in Politicians and Biased Social Dissemination of Political Information

AU - Bøggild, Troels

AU - Aarøe, Lene

AU - Petersen, Michael Bang

PY - 2021/2

Y1 - 2021/2

N2 - Widespread distrust in politicians is often attributed to the way elites portray politics to citizens: the media, competing candidates, and foreign governments are largely considered responsible for portraying politicians as self-interested actors pursuing personal electoral and economic interests. This article turns to the mass level and considers the active role of citizens in disseminating such information. We build on psychological research on human cooperation, holding that people exhibit an interpersonal transmission bias in favor of information on the self-interested, antisocial behavior of others to maintain group cooperation. We posit that this transmission bias extends to politics, causing citizens to disproportionally disseminate information on self-interested politicians through interpersonal communication and, in turn, contributes to distrust in politicians and policy disapproval. We support these predictions using novel experimental studies allowing us to observe transmission rates and opinion effects in actual communication chains. The findings have implications for understanding and accommodating political distrust.

AB - Widespread distrust in politicians is often attributed to the way elites portray politics to citizens: the media, competing candidates, and foreign governments are largely considered responsible for portraying politicians as self-interested actors pursuing personal electoral and economic interests. This article turns to the mass level and considers the active role of citizens in disseminating such information. We build on psychological research on human cooperation, holding that people exhibit an interpersonal transmission bias in favor of information on the self-interested, antisocial behavior of others to maintain group cooperation. We posit that this transmission bias extends to politics, causing citizens to disproportionally disseminate information on self-interested politicians through interpersonal communication and, in turn, contributes to distrust in politicians and policy disapproval. We support these predictions using novel experimental studies allowing us to observe transmission rates and opinion effects in actual communication chains. The findings have implications for understanding and accommodating political distrust.

U2 - 10.1017/S0003055420000805

DO - 10.1017/S0003055420000805

M3 - Journal article

VL - 115

SP - 269

EP - 285

JO - American Political Science Review

JF - American Political Science Review

SN - 0003-0554

IS - 1

ER -