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Assimilative influence (left), bounded assimilative influence (middle) and differentiative influence (right)².
Extreme polarization of opinions fuels many of the problems facing our societies today, from issues on human rights to the environment. Social media provides the vehicle for these opinions and enables the spread of ideas faster than ever before. Previous computational models have suggested that significant external events can induce extreme polariz...
... The results indicate that the perceptions have far-reaching consequences by translating to offline behaviors, creating divisive factions split on partisan views. In particular, recent research highlights the role of opinion amplification in causing extreme polarization on social networks (Lim & Bentley, 2022), which indicates a looming possibility of falsehood and polarization amplifying each other (Cinelli et al., 2021a, b;Das et al., 2023;Vicario et al., 2019) with the need to tackle falsehood becoming crucial towards breaking this vicious cycle (Das et al., 2023). In this regard, the current research prompts IS researchers to view disinformation as a nuanced phenomenon constituting several variants and sheds light on the differing effects of variants on polarization. ...
Information and communication technologies hold immense potential to enhance our lives and societal well-being. However, digital spaces have also emerged as a fertile ground for fake news campaigns and hate speech, aggravating polarization and posing a threat to societal harmony. Despite the fact that this dark side is acknowledged in the literature, the complexity of polarization as a phenomenon coupled with the socio-technical nature of fake news necessitates a novel approach to unravel its intricacies. In light of this sophistication, the current study employs complexity theory and a configurational approach to investigate the impact of diverse disinformation campaigns and hate speech in polarizing societies across 177 countries through a cross-country investigation. The results demonstrate the definitive role of disinformation and hate speech in polarizing societies. The findings also offer a balanced perspective on internet censorship and social media monitoring as necessary evils to combat the disinformation menace and control polarization, but suggest that such efforts may lend support to a milieu of hate speech that fuels polarization. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
... Here is where the news and social media outlets come into play. Media personalities can add fuel to the amplification of extreme views, thereby causing polarization (Lim, 2022). ...
Today's political world is highly polarized with a great deal of animosity on each side for the opposing side. This polarization is amplified by media that cater to partisan positions on issues, creating a narrative that people seek out information sources that bolster their initial positions and then emerge more convinced that their side is right and the opposing side is wrong. The present study investigates people's openness to examining information on both sides of an issue and whether such examination can move people's attitudes. 19 high school students were given a questionnaire that asked them about their attitudes on guns. The questionnaire contained purely value-related questions like whether guns are good or bad and policy-related questions like whether teachers should carry guns in the classroom. Participants were then given access to information pieces that were labeled as to their content and which side of the gun debate they advocated. Participants were allowed to view as many or as few of the pieces as they chose. After viewing the information, participants were given the questionnaire again to see if any changes occurred in their attitudes towards guns. Results showed no correlation between initial opinion on guns and whether pro or anti-gun information was looked at. Rather, there was a strong correlation between the number of pro-gun and anti-gun information pieces viewed, suggesting that people differed in the amount of information they sought rather than the type. In absolute terms, Participants' attitudes changed on only one question, with Participants becoming more likely to believe teachers should carry guns in classrooms. Related to this, there were three questions for which Participants' change in attitude scores correlated negatively with their initial scores: whether teachers should carry guns in the classroom, whether there should be stricter gun laws and whether assault weapons should be banned. These findings suggest that while