Brian E Weeks

Brian E Weeks
University of Michigan | U-M · Department of Communication Studies

PhD

About

49
Publications
36,636
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
2,218
Citations
Introduction
Skills and Expertise
Additional affiliations
September 2010 - May 2014
The Ohio State University
Position
  • PhD Student

Publications

Publications (49)
Article
Full-text available
With social media at the forefront of today’s media context, citizens may perceive they don’t need to actively seek news because they will be exposed to news and remain well-informed through their peers and social networks. We label this the “news-finds-me perception,” and test its implications for news seeking and political knowledge: “news-finds-...
Article
This article has 2 goals: to provide additional evidence that exposure to ideological online news media contributes to political misperceptions, and to test 3 forms this media-effect might take. Analyses are based on representative survey data collected during the 2012 U.S. presidential election (N = 1,004). Panel data offer persuasive evidence tha...
Article
Full-text available
Opinion leaders can be influential in persuading their peers about news and politics, yet their potential influence has been questioned in the social media era. This study tests a theoretical model of attempts at political persuasion within social media in which highly active users (‘‘prosumers’’) consider themselves opinion leaders, which subseque...
Article
Full-text available
Citizens are frequently misinformed about political issues and candidates but the circumstances under which inaccurate beliefs emerge are not fully understood. This experimental study demonstrates that the independent experience of two emotions, anger and anxiety, in part determines whether citizens consider misinformation in a partisan or open‐min...
Article
Citizens increasingly rely on social media to consume and disseminate news and information about politics, but the factors that drive political information sharing on these sites are not well understood. This study focused on how online partisan news use influences political information sharing in part because of the distinct negative emotions it a...
Article
Full-text available
The Internet and social media create an environment in which individuals can selectively approach information supporting their political worldviews while also being incidentally exposed to socially shared information that challenges their beliefs. These competing information consumption patterns may help explain whether and how digital media contri...
Article
This study investigates the potential role both untrustworthy and partisan websites play in misinforming audiences by testing whether actual exposure to these sites is associated with political misperceptions. Using a sample of American adult social media users, we match data from individuals’ Internet browser histories with a survey measuring the...
Article
Full-text available
Social media, as sources of political news and sites of political discussion, may be novel environments for political learning. Many early reports, however, failed to find that social media use promotes gains in political knowledge. Prior research has not yet fully explored the possibility based on the communication mediation model that exposure to...
Article
Concerns persist over the potential for the fragmented media environment to promote motivation-based political knowledge gaps between those who are interested in politics and those who are not. Yet, there is also evidence that the Internet can provide opportunities for individuals to incidentally encounter and learn from news, which may decrease th...
Article
Full-text available
Social endorsement cues (SEC) offer information about how online users have engaged and evaluated online content. Some view that SEC thus can serve as useful heuristics when users evaluate the credibility of news content on social media. At the same time, SEC can be manipulated by a variety of commercial and political actors on social media. This s...
Article
Communication technologies have expanded the range of actors who participate in public debates about science. When experts communicate with the public, scientifically-derived statistical evidence competes with the testimony of non-experts. This study investigates how competing statistical and testimonial evidence affect attitudes toward an issue an...
Article
Full-text available
Social media platforms rarely provide data to misinformation researchers. This is problematic as platforms play a major role in the diffusion and amplification of mis- and disinformation narratives. Scientists are often left working with partial or biased data and must rush to archive relevant data as soon as it appears on the platforms, before it...
Article
Full-text available
Modern communication technologies have vastly increased the reach and influence of political rumors, with negative consequences for democratic political systems globally. Rumor communication can be theorized as a form of political talk that helps citizens grapple with the uncertainty inherent in politics, form opinions, and build solidarity with ot...
Article
Technological advances have vastly expanded the number of news and political media outlets available to the public, creating the possibility that people will selectively expose themselves to like‐minded ideological content. At the same time, there is evidence that citizens are often highly polarized politically. This raises a question about the ext...
Article
This study examines how two distinct patterns of online political information exposure—pro-attitudinal selective exposure and counter-attitudinal incidental exposure—can work together to influence engagement in online cross-cutting political discussion. Using panel data from a two-wave national survey conducted in 2012, we test two competing theore...
Article
Full-text available
The profusion of information about current events in digital media makes it likely that individuals are exposed to news through the course of everyday life, even when they are not motivated to do so. Yet, such incidental news exposure and its consequences depend on a multitude of characteristics that are unique to individuals and the social and inf...
Chapter
Society’s turn to social media as a primary source of news and political information means that journalists’ goal of accurately informing the public is now challenged by user-created and shared content that is misleading, inaccurate, or blatantly false. In this chapter it is argued that emotions exacerbate the problem and make it more likely that p...
Article
Full-text available
Research on political misinformation is booming. The field is continually gaining more key insights about this important and complex social problem. Academic interest on misinformation has consistently been a multidisciplinary effort. But perhaps political communication researchers are particularly well situated to be the leading voices on the publ...
Article
Hostile media perceptions are prominent today but little research has examined how social media use contributes to these beliefs. This study examines whether following politicians’ social media feeds is indirectly linked to hostile media perceptions by evoking emotional responses in the audience. We test this possibility by analyzing two-wave panel...
Article
Full-text available
Expression has the power to shape how we see ourselves. In this paper, we argue that the dynamics of political expression on social media can influence not only political behavior, but also citizens’ more fundamental political self-concepts. Specifically, political expression on social media can entail a public commitment to a political self-presen...
Article
Research has long considered the role interpersonal persuasion plays in shaping how citizens form their political opinions and cast their votes. Yet few studies have examined how experiences with online persuasion might influence broader deliberative orientations. We propose the “Persuasion-Openness” model, in which both attempting and being the ta...
Article
Americans’ views of political activity on social media range from exuberant to exasperated. But do perceptions of social media actually influence citizens’ online and offline political behaviors as suggested by the so-called “Slacktivism hypothesis?” In the present study, we undertake a more careful examination of this question by testing a theoret...
Article
Full-text available
Political information sharing in social media offers citizens opportunities to engage with news and express their political views, but how do different patterns of online political information exposure, including both incidental and selective exposure, affect sharing? Using two-wave panel survey data collected in the United States, we examine the r...
Article
Full-text available
Widespread misperceptions undermine citizens’ decision-making ability. Conclusions based on falsehoods and conspiracy theories are by definition flawed. This article demonstrates that individuals’ epistemic beliefs–beliefs about the nature of knowledge and how one comes to know–have important implications for perception accuracy. The present study...
Data
Structural equation models summarizing factors associated with lagged issue accuracy, including interactions with political ideology. (PDF)
Data
Measurement item generation, question wording, and descriptives. (PDF)
Data
Frequency distributions of composite scores for three epistemic beliefs. (PDF)
Data
Scatterplots of FI-facts by accuracy with locally weighted regression lines. (PDF)
Data
Scatterplots of need for evidence by accuracy with locally weighted regression lines. (PDF)
Data
Sample descriptives. (PDF)
Data
EFA factor loadings (2015). (PDF)
Data
Structural equation models summarizing factors associated with lagged WMD accuracy, including quadratic term. (PDF)
Data
Scatterplots of truth is political by accuracy with locally weighted regression lines. (PDF)
Data
Typical CFA factor loadings for epistemic belief items. (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
Amid growing concerns over the contentious tenor of online political discourse, scholars have begun to recognize that the social contexts and affordances provided by social media may present indirect pathways from online political discussion to offline political participation. Less work has addressed how users’ motivations for using social media mi...
Article
Full-text available
Scholarship on informal discussion of politics and current events has mainly focused on its cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioral effects. In comparison, fewer studies have addressed the antecedents of political talk. Using 2-wave U.S. panel survey data, this study sheds light over 2 sets of motivations people may have for engaging in political co...
Article
The abundance of political media outlets raises concerns that citizens isolate themselves to likeminded news, leaving the public with infrequent shared media experiences and little exposure to disagreeable information. Network analysis of 2008 National Annenberg Election Survey data (N = 57,967) indicates these worries are exaggerated, as general i...
Article
Full-text available
Social media have changed the way citizens, journalists, institutions, and activists communicate about social and political issues. However, questions remain about how information is diffused through these networks and the degree to which each of these actors is influential in communicating information. In this study, we introduce two novel social...
Article
Full-text available
News use via social media has been linked to pro-democratic political behaviors. However, most people use social media for non-political purposes, like connecting with friends and browsing news feeds. Recent research indicates these behaviors may also have democratic benefits, by means of political expression in social media. Drawing on panel data...
Article
Full-text available
Using national telephone survey data collected immediately after the 2008 U.S. presidential election (N = 600), this study examines real-world consequences of inaccurate political rumors. First, individuals more willingly believe negative rumors about a candidate from the opposing party than from their party. However, rumor rebuttals are uniformly...
Article
Full-text available
The explanatory principles of understanding and consistency are used to detail the past, present, and future of individual-level political communication media effects research. It is argued that the field of political communication is at a crossroads, with preferences for a dominant explanatory principle shifting from understanding back to consiste...
Article
Full-text available
Social media are an emerging news source, but questions remain regarding how citizens engage news content in this environment. This study focuses on social media news reception and friending a journalist/news organization as predictors of social media news dissemination. Secondary analysis of 2010 Pew data (N = 1,264) reveals reception and friendin...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Computer scientists have responded to the high prevalence of inaccurate political information online by creating systems that identify and flag false claims. Warning users of inaccurate information as it is displayed has obvious appeal, but it also poses risk. Compared to post-exposure corrections, real-time corrections may cause users to be more r...
Article
Full-text available
Much recent debate in political communication has centered on the influence of ideologically oriented media outlets. Some argue that the current media environment is creating partisan echo chambers, while others contend that today’s political media afford citizens increased contact with a diverse range of opinion. The current study seeks to clarify...
Article
Full-text available
Building on channel complementarity theory and media-system dependency theory, this study explores the impact of conflict-oriented news coverage of health issues on information seeking online. Using Google search data as a measure of behavior, we demonstrate that controversial news coverage of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force's November 2009...
Article
Full-text available
Using a relatively new approach, this study examines the agenda-setting effects of television and newspaper coverage of a prominent rumor from the 2008 presidential election: the rumor that Barack Obama was secretly Muslim. In doing so, we look at the relationship between online information-seeking behavior and mass media news coverage, expecting o...

Network

Cited By