Xiaoquan Zhao, Justin Rolfe-Redding & John E Kotcher
The effects of news media on public opinion about global warming have been a topic of much interest in both academic and popular discourse. Empirical evidence in this regard, however, is still limited and somewhat mixed. This study used data from the 2006 General Social Survey in combination with a content analysis of newspaper coverage of the same time period to examine the relationship between general news climate and public concern about global warming. Results showed a pattern of political polarization, with increased coverage associated with growing divergence between Democrats and Republicans. Further analysis also showed evidence of reactivity in partisan response to coverage from different news outlets. These findings point to a particular form of politically motivated, biased processing of news information.
Brooke Foucault Welles and Isabel Meirelles
Parallel advances in communication and visualization technologies have enabled the study and visualization of human behavior at a scale and level of detail never before possible. Nowhere are these advances more evident than within the emerging field of computational social science. Using Adamic and Glance’s image of the political blogosphere as an example and social representations theory as a guiding framework, we explore how computational social science visualizations may aid and complicate public understanding of this new science. We conclude with a discussion of best practices for the production and reuse of computational social science images for public consumption.
María E. Len-Ríos, Manu Bhandari, Yulia S. Medvedeva
This mixed-methods study examines online comments (The Atlantic online, N = 326; NYTimes.com, N = 596) generated by two widely read articles challenging the scientific basis for U.S. government breastfeeding recommendations. The analysis focuses on commenter evaluations of the scientific evidence for breastfeeding. Results demonstrate that commenters socially represented breastfeeding science as a means for manufacturing convenience and also as a process that is prone to flaws in its production and application. Online commenters discussed their personal experiences (42%) with breastfeeding more than its evidence base (16%). Personal and social experiences were used as filters to judge the merits of scientific arguments.
Classical statement: This article was translated by Valerie Hartwich and abridged by Nikos Kalampalikis. The original article was published in French in the Bulletin de Psychologie, 1992 XLV(405), 301-324. This article is reproduced with kind permission of the author and the Bulletin de Psychologie.