Frames and reasoning: Two pathways from selective exposure to affective polarization

Yariv Tsfati, Lilach Nir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Although an association between congruent exposure to ideological news and affective polarization is well documented, we know little about the mechanisms underlying it. This article explores two possible mechanisms: (1) acceptance of media frames and (2) the effects on the audience's reasoning, specifically, their knowledge of claims supporting their and the other camp's positions. Mediation hypotheses were tested on data collected using an online survey of users of ideological and mainstream Israeli news websites (N = 788). Op-eds from these websites (N = 259) were content-analyzed to determine the frames used by ideological and mainstream websites. Results demonstrate that acceptance of frames plays a more important role than audience reasoning in mediating the effect of selective exposure on political polarization.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)301-322
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant 477/11). Another part of this complex project is reported by Tsfati and Chotiner (2016). The authors are grateful to Ayellet Pelled, Yotam Ophir, Nathan Walter, and Omer Yair for their dedicated research assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 (Yariv Tsfati & Lilach Nir).


  • Affective polarization
  • Framing
  • Political reasoning
  • Selective exposure


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