Second publication from collaborative project on ballot initiatives

The second project from our larger lab collaboration has been accepted and is ready to view!

Here is the citation:

Shulman, H. C., Sweitzer, M. D., Bullock, O. M., Coronel, J. C., Bond, R. M., & Poulsen, S. (2022). Predicting Vote Choice and Election Outcomes from Ballot Wording: The Role of Processing Fluency in Low Information Direct Democracy Elections. Political Communication, 0(0), 1–22.

And here’s the abstract:

Two laboratory studies (N = 240) were designed to explain and predict how people make decisions in low-information political environments. Guided by feelings-as-information theory, it was argued that when direct democracy ballot issues do not receive any campaign expenditures and are not about moral/civic issues, voters are likely to encounter these ballots for the first time in the voting booth. And when this is the case, how these ballots are written should affect vote choice. In support of study hypotheses, it was found that the difficulty of the words on the ballot affected people’s processing fluency, defined as the ease with which people processed the information presented. In turn, self-reports of processing fluency influenced vote choice. Specifically, easier texts were more likely to be supported and difficult texts were more likely to be opposed or abstained from voting on. As hypothesized, this relationship was mediated through self-reports of processing fluency. Additionally, to demonstrate the external validity of this process, it was found that the voting results obtained in the two laboratory studies replicated real-world election results 86% of the time. These results offer communicative and psychological insight into how communication affects information processing, and how these processing experiences inform political decisions of consequence to everyday life.

Got COVID in Paris– let’s connect virtually

Unfortunately, I have tested positive for COVID in Paris. I will no longer be presenting our ICA paper and will not be available for in-person connections.

If you were interested in my project, or simply want to “talk shop,” I’d love to connect virtually after the conference has ended and I’ve returned back to the United States. My email is


Paper accepted to ICA22

Dr. R. Kelly Garrett, myself, and Dr. Robert Bond are excited to share that our paper, “Comparing beliefs in falsehoods based on satiric and non-satiric news” has been accepted to the Political Communication Division for the 2022 ICA conference in Paris.

Here is the citation for that paper:

Poulsen, S., Garrett, R.K., & Bond, R.M. (2022). Comparing beliefs in falsehoods based on satiric and non-satiric news. Paper to be presented to the Political Communication division of the International Communication Association.

I look forward to presenting this project. Mostly, I’m excited to see everyone in-person again!

Successfully defended dissertation proposal

Today, I successfully defended my dissertation proposal titled “Stop Eating The Onion! How to best reduce satire-based misperceptions.”

I thank my committee– Dr. R. Kelly Garrett, Dr. Jason Coronel, and Dr. Emily Moyer-Guse– for their insightful feedback.

Now, on to bringing these ideas into reality!

First publication from collaborative project on ballot initiatives

Our first project from a collaborative project on ballot initiatives has been accepted for publication.

Here is the citation:

Coronel, J. C., Bullock, O. M., Shulman, H. C., Sweitzer, M. D., Bond, R. M., & Poulsen, S. (2021). Eye Movements Predict Large-Scale Voting Decisions: Psychological Science.
And here is the abstract:
More than 100 countries allow people to vote directly on policies in direct democracy elections (e.g., 2016 Brexit referendum). Politicians are often responsible for writing ballot language, and voters frequently encounter ballot measures that are difficult to understand. We examined whether eye movements from a small group of individuals can predict the consequences of ballot language on large-scale voting decisions. Across two preregistered studies (Study 1: N = 120 registered voters, Study 2: N = 120 registered voters), we monitored laboratory participants’ eye movements as they read real ballot measures. We found that eye-movement responses associated with difficulties in language comprehension predicted aggregate voting decisions to abstain from voting and vote against ballot measures in U.S. elections (total number of votes cast = 137,661,232). Eye movements predicted voting decisions beyond what was accounted for by widely used measures of language difficulty. This finding demonstrates a new way of linking eye movements to out-of-sample aggregate-level behaviors.

Completed Doctoral Candidacy Exams

I’ve passed candidacy! Thank you to my candidacy committee members, Dr. Emily Moyer-Guse, Dr. Hillary Shulman, Dr. Jason Coronel, and Dr. Kelly Garrett, for a challenging and extremely rewarding candidacy experience.

Now… onto the dissertation.

ICA submission noted as a “Promising Student Paper” for Information Systems division

My extended abstract submitted to the Information Systems subdivision of the International Communication Association has been put on the “Promising Student Papers” panel.

This study is part of the collaborative lab project I joined in 2019.

Here is the citation for the paper:

Poulsen, S., Coronel, J.C, Sweitzer, M.D, Bullock, O.M., Shulman, H.C., & Bond, R.M. (May 2020). Thinking reflectively or intuitively: How cognitive reflection moderates the effect of language complexity on abstention. Paper accepted to be presented to the Information Systems division of the International Communication Association, Gold Coast, Australia, 2020.

OSU PhD Student Second Year Talk

This Friday, I’ll be talking about my research, its goals, and discussing two studies that demonstrate my approach to studying misinformation.

The talk is titled: “Why we’re politically misinformed: the role of pre-existing knowledge.”