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The Effect of "False" Polarization: Are Perceptions of Political Polarization Self-Fulfilling Prophecies?

The Effect of "False" Polarization: Are Perceptions of Political Polarization Self-Fulfilling Prophecies?
1 Devonshire Place, room 208N
Time: Mar 6th, 2:00 pm End: Mar 6th, 4:00 pm
Interest Categories: United States Studies, Political Science, Communications, Communication, Culture, Information and Technology (UTM), Arts, Culture and Media (UTSC)
Lecture by Matthew Levendusky, University of Pennsylvania

The Centre for the Study of the United States presents a lecture in the F. Ross Johnson--Connaught Speaker Series for 2014:

Matthew Levendusky, University of Pennsylvania

The Effect of "False" Polarization: Are Perceptions of Political Polarization Self-Fullfilling Prophecies?

Co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

The past decade has witnessed an explosion of interest in the partisan polarization of the American electorate. Yet little research so far has considered the causes and consequences of perceptions of polarization. Does perceived polarization cause actual attitudinal polarization? Across multiple studies, we show that media coverage of polarization leads citizens to exaggerate the degree of polarization in the mass public, a phenomenon known as false polarization. We also find that false polarization causes voters to moderate their own issue positions but increases dislike of the opposing party. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for understanding polarization in the mass public and the potential consequences of polarized media coverage.

Matthew Levendusky is currently Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, in the Department of Political Science, at the University of Pennsylvania. He was previously an assistant professor of Political Science at Penn (2007-2013), and a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for the Study of American Politics at Yale University (2006-2007). He obtained his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2006, and his BA (with highest honors) from The Pennsylvania State University in 2001. He is the author of The Partisan Sort (University of Chicago Press, 2009), and How Partisan Media Polarize America (University of Chicago Press, 2013). His work has also appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Public Opinion Quarterly, and a variety of other publications.

This event is free and open to all, but registration is requested. To register, please click HERE.

Professor Levendusky will also present a workshop for faculty and graduate students. Please click HERE to register.

For further information, please contact the Centre for the Study of the United States at (416) 946-8972.

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