Tuning Out (Political and Science) News? A Selective Exposure Study of the News Finds Me Perception

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Individuals harboring perceptions that the “news will find me” (NFM) tend to be less active consuming traditional media, preferring news online and on social media. NFM has also been linked with lower political knowledge and political participation over time. What remains to be seen, however, is whether high-NFM individuals are in fact less likely to expose themselves to news once they do encounter it online. This preregistered study fills this gap in the literature by unobtrusively logging selection behaviors while U.S. adults browsed a mock news website featuring various hard and soft news stories. Consistent with our hypothesizing, NFM was associated with greater exposure to soft news. Additionally, we examined whether genre-specific NFM beliefs would predict less exposure to those news genres. We found support for this hypothesis in the context of science news, but for political news, this relationship depended on the news stories presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCommunication Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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