The Problem of Political Misperceptions

Monday March 19, 2018 (3:30 PM – 5:00 PM)

Brian Weeks

Assistant Professor, Communication Studies | Faculty Associate, Center for Political Studies
University of Michigan

Journalists and fact-checkers devote extensive resources to combating political misperceptions yet significant percentages of the public remain misinformed about politics. Understanding why people hold misperceptions is critical if we hope to limit their political influence. In this talk I highlight several key factors that contribute to false beliefs about politics. First, I demonstrate that partisan media facilitate inaccurate political beliefs but that this effect is not due to partisan echo chambers. Instead, I suggest partisan media outlets might increase misperceptions by offering news consumers cues regarding the legitimacy of the evidence surrounding these claims. Second, I illustrate how both distinct emotions and political intuition, not simply partisan bias, facilitate acceptance of political falsehoods.

Video Recording:
The Problem of Political Misperceptions


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