Presentation (Project) Title

Confirmatory Silos in COVID-19-Related Attitudes and Behaviors

Mentor Information

Sandra L. Schneider (Department of Psychology)

Presentation Format

Event

Abstract

Confirmation bias is a pervasive phenomenon. We hypothesize that confirmation bias plays a role in our choice of news media, which may lead to the creation of confirmatory silos. These silos may create closed feedback loops that may shape attitudes and behavior. The purpose of this study was to explore the extent to which these confirmatory silos may extend to COVID-19 attitudes and behavior. This correlational survey study was completed by 389 USF undergraduates from psychology classes. Participants provided information about attitudes toward COVID-19, self-reported COVID-related behavior, cable media news sources, and political outlook (conservative vs. liberal). We found that liberal outlooks lean toward consumption of more liberal media (CNN, NPR, MSNBC), while conservative outlooks lean toward viewing of more conservative media (Fox News). As expected, we found that consumption of more liberal news was associated with higher levels of COVID-19 worry, while viewing of more conservative media predicted less COVID-19 worry. This relationship extended to behavior. Viewing of more liberal media was also associated with more self-reported COVID-19 protective behaviors (e.g. social distancing and hand washing), while consumption of more conservative media correlated with fewer protective behaviors. These findings provide evidence of confirmatory silos in the context of COVID-19. Attitudes and behaviors were consistent with the messages within the silo. Silos may reinforce a single point of view and limit awareness of alternative points of view.

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Confirmatory Silos in COVID-19-Related Attitudes and Behaviors

Confirmation bias is a pervasive phenomenon. We hypothesize that confirmation bias plays a role in our choice of news media, which may lead to the creation of confirmatory silos. These silos may create closed feedback loops that may shape attitudes and behavior. The purpose of this study was to explore the extent to which these confirmatory silos may extend to COVID-19 attitudes and behavior. This correlational survey study was completed by 389 USF undergraduates from psychology classes. Participants provided information about attitudes toward COVID-19, self-reported COVID-related behavior, cable media news sources, and political outlook (conservative vs. liberal). We found that liberal outlooks lean toward consumption of more liberal media (CNN, NPR, MSNBC), while conservative outlooks lean toward viewing of more conservative media (Fox News). As expected, we found that consumption of more liberal news was associated with higher levels of COVID-19 worry, while viewing of more conservative media predicted less COVID-19 worry. This relationship extended to behavior. Viewing of more liberal media was also associated with more self-reported COVID-19 protective behaviors (e.g. social distancing and hand washing), while consumption of more conservative media correlated with fewer protective behaviors. These findings provide evidence of confirmatory silos in the context of COVID-19. Attitudes and behaviors were consistent with the messages within the silo. Silos may reinforce a single point of view and limit awareness of alternative points of view.