SAGE Journals

Now We’re Talking? Understanding the Interplay Between Online Selective and Incidental Exposure and Their Influence on Online Cross-Cutting Political Discussion

Version 2 2022-04-30, 14:06
Version 1 2020-05-13, 12:33
Posted on 2022-04-30 - 14:06

This study examines how two distinct patterns of online political information exposure—pro-attitudinal selective exposure and counter-attitudinal incidental exposure—can work together to influence engagement in online cross-cutting political discussion. Using panel data from a two-wave national survey conducted in 2012, we test two competing theoretical accounts. Findings suggest that incidental exposure affects selective exposure’s contribution to cross-cutting discussion in a curvilinear way. Incidental exposure strengthens the impact of selective exposure on cross-cutting discussion up until a certain point, after which it begins to attenuate its impact. Results emphasize the need to account for the multiple ways people encounter political information online.


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