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  • Tuesday, September 4, 2018

    How Social Media Can Also Settle Disputes

    Can social media networks reduce political polarization on climate change? A study from the Annenberg School for Communication shows that exposure to anonymous, bipartisan social networks can lead liberals and conservatives to improve their forecasting of global-climate trends

    Michele Berger, 3 September 2018 (EurekAlert)

    “Social media networks, which often foster partisan antagonism, may also offer a solution to reducing political polarization…The Penn researchers asked 2,400 Republicans and Democrats to interpret recent climate-change data on Arctic sea-ice levels. Initially, nearly 40 percent of Republicans incorrectly interpreted the data, saying that Arctic sea-ice levels were increasing; 26 percent of Democrats made the same mistake. However, after participants interacted in anonymous social media networks--sharing opinions about the data and its meaning for future levels of Artic sea ice--88 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Democrats correctly analyzed it, agreeing that sea-ice levels were dropping…[Republicans and Democrats who did not have social media interactions but] had several additional minutes to reflect on the climate data before updating their responses remained highly polarized and offered significantly less accurate forecasts…[When a picture of an elephant and a donkey were put at the bottom of a screen, and all the social learning effects disappeared…” click here for more

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