Testing Cultural Contingencies of Selective Exposure and Polarization: A Cross-National Study in Japan, the U.S., and Hong Kong

Project: Research

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Partisan selective exposure—the tendency of individuals to seek political information that confirms their existing beliefs over such information that does not—has been well documented in the Western political communication literature. However, its cross-cultural validity has been tested rarely. Drawing on a recent development in cultural psychology, which indicates that Westerners polarize whereas Easterners moderate their attitudes and affect when exposed to conflicting information, this study tests the hypothesis that Easterners will demonstrate weaker partisan selective exposure compared with Westerners. Cross-cultural experiments and surveys will be fielded in Japan (East), the U.S. (West), and Hong Kong, where East meets West. Specifically, the bicultural nature of the Hong Kong citizenry and psychological cultural priming provide a unique setting in which cultures are randomly assigned, allowing for unprecedentedly strong causal inference on cultural influence. Findings from experiments using an online news website as well as online surveys in the three regions will elucidate the cultural contingency of partisan selective exposure and its impact on attitudinal and affective polarization, which will provide insightful policy implication on how to alleviate political polarization in different cultures.


Project number9042751
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/01/198/12/21