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The role of personality in political talk and like-minded discussion

Faculty Advisor




Big Five personality traits, political discussion, political talk, like-minded discussion, echo chamber

Abstract (summary)

Political discussion is a key mechanism for the development of reasoned opinions and political knowledge, but online political discussion has been characterized as uncivil, intolerant, and/or ideologically homogeneous, which is detrimental to this development. In this paper, we examine the role of personality in various forms of political talk—online and offline—as well as like-minded discussion. Based on a 2017 survey conducted in the United Kingdom, United States, and France, we find that people who are open-minded and extraverted are more likely to engage in political talk but less likely to engage in like-minded discussion. Individuals who are older, less educated, introverted, and conscientious are more likely to find themselves in like-minded discussions, both online and on social media. Like-minded discussion is rare; personality, rather than ideology, predicts whether people engage in this form of political talk in online and offline modes. Our findings challenge the role of social media in the creation of like-minded discussion. Instead, we should look to the role of individual attributes, such as personality traits, which create a disposition that motivates the use of social media (and offline networks) to cultivate like-minded discussion.

Publication Information

Boulianne, Shelley, and Karolina Koc-Michalska. 2021. "The Role of Personality in Political Talk and Like-Minded Discussion." The International Journal of Press/Politics. OnlineFirst, March 17. doi:10.1177/1940161221994096


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Attribution (CC BY)