Now We’re Talking? Understanding the Interplay Between Online Selective and Incidental Exposure and Their Influence on Online Cross-Cutting Political Discussion

Nojin Kwak, Daniel S. Lane, Brian E. Weeks, Dam Hee Kim, Slgi S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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 theoretical accounts. Findings suggest that incidental exposure affects selective exposure’s contribution to cross-cutting discussion in a curvilinear way. Incidental exposure strengthens the impact of selective exposure on cross-cutting discussion up until a certain point, after which it begins to attenuate its impact. Results emphasize the need to account for the multiple ways people encounter political information online.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • cognitive dissonance
  • cross-cutting discussion
  • incidental exposure
  • politics
  • selective exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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