Research

Research Interests

My research primarily focuses on the impact of digital technologies on how people consume information and news. The digital environment has seen a shift from consuming information directly from trusted sources, to consuming news and information on a story-by-story basis from multiple sources (a process I call ‘way-finding’).

It is how this changing environment affects information consumers and producers that drives my research interests. I am interested in how this environment changes public opinion, knowledge acquisition, credibility assessments and the spread of misinformation.

Additionally I am interested in the issue of institutional distrust, especially distrust in Government, media and expters, and how this impacts public opinion and attitudes towards media. I am also interested in website design, and how web features, such as interactivity, impact user behavior.

Publications

Pearson, G.D.H. (2020). Sources on social media: Information context collapse and volume of content as
predictors of source blindness. New Media & Society

Pearson, G. D. H., & Knobloch-Westerwick, S. (2019). Is the confirmation bias bubble larger online? Pre-election confirmation bias in selective exposure to online versus print political information. Mass Communication and Society22(4), 466-486.

Pearson, G.D.H., & Knobloch-Westerwick, S. (2018). Perusing pages and skimming screens: Exploring differing patterns of selective exposure to hard news and professional sources in online and print news. New Media & Society. 20(10), 3580-3596

Pearson, G.D.H., & Kosicki, G. M. (2017). How way-finding is challenging gatekeeping in the digital age. Journalism Studies, 18(9), 1087-1105

Mothes, C., Knobloch-Westerwick, S. & Pearson, G.D.H. (in press). Impacts of personalization, fragmentation, authority-disorder bias and dramatization on news audiences selection of news. Communication Theory

Research Awards

MacDougall Student Paper Award (2017) – Awarded to the top student paper submitted to the Newspaper & Online News Division at AEJMC

Conference Papers

Pearson, G.D.H., Knobloch-Westerwick, S., Gokbag, B., “Setting Your Own Agenda”: Selective Exposure as a Mechanism for Re-Enforcing Issue Importance. Annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2020.

Pearson, G.D.H. & Silver, N. A. (2018). Cultivating institutional distrust: Investigating the relationship between TV, mean world, and declining trust in American institutions. Annual conference of the National Communication Association (NCA) 2018, Salt Lake City, UT.

Pearson, G. D. H., Sude, D. S., Knobloch-Westerwick, S. (2018). Thumbs up! Impacts of interactive news voting affordances on selective exposure, voting and persuasion. Annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication 2018, Washington D.C..

Pearson, G. D. H. & Lavis, S. M. (2017). Way-finding and source blindness: How the loss of gatekeepers spread fake news in the 2016 presidential election. Annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication 2017, Chicago, IL.

Pearson, G. D. H. & Knobloch-Westerwick, S. (2017). Are echo chambers louder online? Pre-Election confirmation bias in selective exposure to online versus print political information. Annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication 2017, Chicago, IL.

Pearson, G. D. H. & Silver N. A. (2017). Cultivating Brexit: Multi-level evidence for the influence of television exposure on attitudes towards immigrants and the European Union. Annual Conference of the of the International Communication Association (ICA) 2017, San Diego, CA.

Lavis, S. M. & Pearson, G. D. H. (2017). Pro-Social Effects of Political Entertainment in the 2016 Election. Annual conference of the National Communication Association in Dallas, TX.

Pearson, G.D.H. & Knobloch-Westerwick, S. (2016). Perusing pages and skimming screens: Exploring differing patterns of selective exposure to hard news and professional sources in online and print news. Annual Conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) 2016, Minneapolis, MN.

Mothes, C., Knobloch-Westerwick, S., & Pearson, G.D.H. (2016). The PFAD model of news exposure: Impacts of personalization, fragmentation, authority-disorder bias, and dramatization on selective exposure to political news. Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) 2016, Fukuoka, Japan.

Summary of Current Research Projects

The beneath projects are either under review, in manuscript preparation or in data collection.

  • Does way-finding predict reduced attention to sources and increased belief in misinformation?
  • How does way-finding impact the agenda setting function of mass media?
  • How do interactive websites influence ideologically driven selective exposure?
  • How is the agenda setting function of mass media affected by environments with high media selectivity?
  • How do college students’ attitudes and behavior influence their media selection?
  • What do the public consider when they answer right track/wrong track survey questions?
  • Does television exposure predict xenophobia in Western European countries?