Jay Hmielowski and Myiah Hutchens Co-Author Blog on Partisan Echo Chambers
University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Public Relations Assistant Professors Jay Hmielowski and Myiah Hutchens are the co-authors of a blog “Why Trying to Break People Out of the Echo Chambers Might Be Counterproductive” posted on the London School of Economics US Centre’s blog on American Politics and Policy.
Research from Hmielowski, Hutchens and Michael Beam finds that discussions about wearing a mask to help stop the spread of COVID-19 may be driving participants into their own partisan media echo chambers. They are studying ways to pop “information bubbles.”
According to the authors, “So where can people still hear opposing views? One of the last vestiges of hearing different opinions is in talking to others. Research has highlighted that speaking to friends, family, and acquaintances is an important way to hear opinion-challenging positions. So, it’s important to examine the effects of talking to people who hold differing views in our day-to-day conversations.”
They add, “Our research demonstrates that the discussion and concern around echo chambers is more complex than many may have realized: simply telling people to ‘get out of their bubbles’ could push some individuals further in.”