New paper published: “Bridging the gap”

For the VARME project, Adam Shehata and I studied the effects of media use and different dimensions of ideology on belief gaps. Available as open access


The belief gap hypothesis focuses on why individuals differ in beliefs about the causes and consequences of issues despite expert consensus. Offering ideological rationalization and media use as an explanation for diverting beliefs, it, so far, has focused on ideological priors that describe traditional socio-economic cleavages—even if scientific and environmental issues go beyond monetary questions. In this study, we aim to counter this shortcoming by introducing a socio-cultural dimension of ideology to research on the belief gap hypothesis. Comparing two issues of man-made threats—climate change and antimicrobial resistance—and emphasizing more strongly the role of media use for belief gaps, we find that a socio-cultural dimension of ideology serves as a better predictor for diverting beliefs about climate change but not for antimicrobial resistance. In contrast to left-leaning media, using right-leaning media outlets widens climate change belief gaps.