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Communication Mediation Model of Late-Night Comedy
Unformatted Document Text:  COMMUNICATION MEDIATION MODEL OF LATE-NIGHT COMEDY 5 level of political participation, and this claim has received a great deal of empirical support . In contrast, a sizable body of literature advocated the positive relationship between greater engagement in heterogeneous discussion and political participation . To better understand this causal chain, others advanced more complex communication processes—e.g., mediating or moderating —wherein heterogeneous discussion operates. Conflicting results surrounding the participatory effects of heterogeneous discussion might be reconciled when we consider two key underlying mechanisms . First, greater engagement in heterogeneous discussion can exert detrimental effects on political participation by creating attitudinal ambivalence . In contrast, the second explanation speaks to the positive role, suggesting that exposure to dissimilar viewpoints could spur participation indirectly by facilitating learning about politics . Rather than being mutually exclusive, these two processes are likely to occur simultaneously in the actual communication environment. However, the relative importance of these two may be determined in terms of an individual’s expertise such that one process prevails over the other among a particular group of people. Specifically, ambivalence seems to provide an overriding explanation for the effects of encountering dissimilar viewpoints among less skillful citizens. For the most part, ambivalence as characterized by less firmly held viewpoints is more likely among political novices. On the other hand, learning provides a better account for the influence of heterogeneous discussion among political experts. After all, the central tenet of the knowledge gap hypothesis posits that those who are already savvy tend to learn more . Taken together, it is arguable that heterogeneous discussion may demobilize less skillful citizens by generating their ambivalence, whereas it could play a constructive role among savvy counterparts by increasing their knowledge. Although empirical evidence directly supporting this claim is sparse, some recent

Authors: Lee, Hoon.
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COMMUNICATION MEDIATION MODEL OF LATE-NIGHT COMEDY
  5
level of political participation, and this claim has received a great deal of empirical support .  In 
contrast, a sizable body of literature advocated the positive relationship between greater 
engagement in heterogeneous discussion and political participation .  To better understand this 
causal chain, others advanced more complex communication processes—e.g., mediating  or 
moderating —wherein heterogeneous discussion operates. 
Conflicting results surrounding the participatory effects of heterogeneous discussion 
might be reconciled when we consider two key underlying mechanisms .  First, greater 
engagement in heterogeneous discussion can exert detrimental effects on political participation 
by creating attitudinal ambivalence .  In contrast, the second explanation speaks to the positive 
role, suggesting that exposure to dissimilar viewpoints could spur participation indirectly by 
facilitating learning about politics .  Rather than being mutually exclusive, these two processes 
are likely to occur simultaneously in the actual communication environment.   
However, the relative importance of these two may be determined in terms of an 
individual’s expertise such that one process prevails over the other among a particular group of 
people.  Specifically, ambivalence seems to provide an overriding explanation for the effects of 
encountering dissimilar viewpoints among less skillful citizens.  For the most part, ambivalence 
as characterized by less firmly held viewpoints  is more likely among political novices.  On the 
other hand, learning provides a better account for the influence of heterogeneous discussion 
among political experts.  After all, the central tenet of the knowledge gap hypothesis posits that 
those who are already savvy tend to learn more .  Taken together, it is arguable that 
heterogeneous discussion may demobilize less skillful citizens by generating their ambivalence, 
whereas it could play a constructive role among savvy counterparts by increasing their 
knowledge.  Although empirical evidence directly supporting this claim is sparse, some recent 


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