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Explaining Information Effects in Collective Preferences
Unformatted Document Text:  Explaining Information Effects in Collective Preferences Abstract This paper explores why individual differences in levels of political knowledge should affect the distribution of some kinds of collective opinions but not others. Answers to this question require a better understanding than has been offered to date of why ill-informed people often hold different opinions than the people who share their demographic characteristics but are better informed about politics. This paper concludes that consistent patterns of ideological bias in collective preferences revealed in previous studies of information effects are neither artifacts of the survey instrument nor of the particular topics posed to respondents. Instead, differences in opinion between ill- and well-informed citizens are shown to arise from both social and psychological factors that influence how ill- and well-informed citizens establish and update their political preferences. Paper prepared for presentation at the 2003 annual meeting of the International Communication Association, May 23-27, at San Diego, California.

Authors: Althaus, Scott.
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Explaining Information Effects in Collective Preferences
Abstract
This paper explores why individual differences in levels of political knowledge
should affect the distribution of some kinds of collective opinions but not others.
Answers to this question require a better understanding than has been offered to
date of why ill-informed people often hold different opinions than the people who
share their demographic characteristics but are better informed about politics. This
paper concludes that consistent patterns of ideological bias in collective
preferences revealed in previous studies of information effects are neither artifacts
of the survey instrument nor of the particular topics posed to respondents. Instead,
differences in opinion between ill- and well-informed citizens are shown to arise
from both social and psychological factors that influence how ill- and well-
informed citizens establish and update their political preferences.
Paper prepared for presentation at the 2003 annual meeting of the International Communication
Association, May 23-27, at San Diego, California.


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