Selective Processes, Exposure, Perception, Memory

Selective processes are the means by which individuals' preexisting beliefs shape their use of information in a complex environment. Current interests and opinions influence the acquisition (selective exposure), evaluation (selective perception), and retention (selective memory) of political information. As a consequence, individuals tend to be more knowledgeable about personally salient topics than about topics that do not interest them, and they tend to know more of the evidence supporting their political opinions than they know about other perspectives. These characteristics limit individuals' ability to revise their political beliefs in response to new evidence and promote political polarization because existing opinions receive systematic reinforcement. Though these processes have rich roots in political communication, there is also significant research on the processes in nonpolitical contexts.

Selective processing is ...

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