New Publication Accepted

“Algorithmic Personalization of Source Cues in the Filter Bubble:
Self-Esteem and Self-Construal Impact Information Exposure”

by Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick & Axel Westerwick, to be published in NEW MEDIA & SOCIETY

How do users pick out online information sources? Building on a self-regulation perspective to media use, this study investigates routes to self-enhancement (i.e., state self-esteem increase, SSE) through selective exposure to sources of political online information. Personal-self and social-self importance were conceptualized as moderators of self-enhancement. An experiment mimicked the filter bubble, as participants (n = 88) browsed only attitude-aligned political content. The experiment varied source cues, with two (of eight) bylines displaying individual participants’ name initials as author initials. The selective exposure time participants spent on messages from same-initials authors was logged to capture egotism (based on the well-established name-letter effect). Pre-exposure state self-esteem influenced self-enhancement, contingent upon both personal-self and social-self importance. Perceived source similarity affected post-exposure state self-esteem, contingent upon the same moderators. The findings show that algorithms can personalize source cues to attract users and impact self-esteem.

AEJMC conference papers accepted

Several of my current studies will be presented at the  Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference, August 4-7, 2021.

“Now You See Me”: Self-Representation Affordance Moderates Bandwagon-Cues’ Impacts on Information Exposure. By Wenbo Li,  Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick,  & Chris Cosma, The Ohio State University. Paper to be presented to the Communication Technology Division of AEJMC.

Pre-Election Confirmation Bias vs. Informational Utility: Election Outcome Prediction Affects Selective Exposure. By Kate T. Luong & Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, The Ohio State University. Paper to be presented to the Political  Communication Division of AEJMC.


Top student paper for Elizabeth Riggs, MA advisee

Elizabeth Riggs‘ submission “Losing Awareness of Our Surroundings? The Role of Attention During Transportation into Audio Narratives” won the top student paper award (Information Systems Division) for the 2021 International Communication Association conference in May.

The paper is based on her MA thesis, supervised by Dr. Knobloch-Westerwick.

Congratulations, Dr. Pearson!

My graduate co-author and SEMI-ME lab member Dr. George Pearson will start this March as post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, to work with Professor Cappella. Congratulations, George!

Congratulations, Dr. Luong!

Congratulations to Dr. Kate Luong for starting as a Post-Doc Research Associate at the Center for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University. Kate completed her doctoral degree with me last summer and recently obtained her US work permit.

ICA papers

Glad about the positive news:
Four conference papers accepted for the International Communication Association conference!

  • “Mobile Selective Exposure: Confirmation Bias and Impact of Social Cues During Mobile News Consumption” with *Morgan Ross, *Jarod Crum, and *Shengkai Wang
  • “‘I am With You’ – Self-Enhancement through Partisan Affiliation and Confirmation Bias” with Daniel J. Sude and Axel Westerwick
  • “Confirmation Bias Versus National Ingroup Favoritism: Political Information Exposure Beyond the U.S. Context” with *Ling Liu, Axel Westerwick, Evan McWilliams and Airo Hino
  • “The Interdependent Independent Self-Construal and Mental Health Help Seeking Source Preference” with *Rachel McKenzie

*denotes student co-author.

“Self-Expression Just a Click Away”

An article co-authored with Drs. Daniel Sude and George Pearson, titled “Self-Expression Just a Click Away: Source Interactivity Impacts on Confirmation Bias and Political Attitudes,” has been accepted for publication in Computers in Human Behavior.

ABSTRACT: Information is now commonly consumed online, often displayed in conjunction with self-expression affordances (i.e., likes, votes) that create a sense of “self as source.” Sundar et al.’s (2015) theory of interactive media effects (TIME)conceptualizes such affordances as source interactivity (SI). An experiment examined medium effects of SI as well as message effects on attitudes. It tracked selective exposure to attitude-consistent vs. –discrepant political messages, to capture confirmation bias, and manipulated SI presence (affordance to up-vote or down-vote articles present or absent) as within-subjects factors. SI use and attitude change were captured. SI reduced selective exposure to attitude-consistent content. However, use of SI affected attitude reinforcement independently as well. Hence, users shaped their own attitudes both by selectively reading articles and expressing their views through SI. Directions for theory development are offered.