SPEC/CIRCLE Research on Echo Chambers Presented at ICA

SPEC members Dhavan Shah, Jiyoun Suk, and Doug McLeod presented their work on how echo chambers on both the right and the left erode civic bonds at the 2018 International Communication Association meeting in Prague, May 24-28. They link this erosion of trust in institutions and groups to the rise of political polarization in American society, the proliferation of partisan media, and the emergence of digital media platforms that facilitate selectively curated news flows. The study employed a national panel study of millennials collected by CIRCLE at Tuft University in partnership with SPEC to explore the extent to which citizens who cultivate homogeneous information flows from news, social media, and interpersonal channels express lower levels of institutional legitimacy and social trust. Our analyses reveal that Democrats with ideologically homogeneous communication flows exhibited reduced institutional trust, but greater trust in dissimilar social groups, while Republicans with homogeneous communication flows indicated greater trust in police, but lower trust in news media and dissimilar social groups.