Now We’re Talking? Understanding the Interplay Between Online Selective and Incidental Exposure and Their Influence on Online Cross-Cutting Political Discussion

Nojin Kwak, Daniel S. Lane, Brian E. Weeks, Dam Hee Kim, Slgi S. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study examines how two distinct patterns of online political information exposure—pro-attitudinal selective exposure and counter-attitudinal incidental exposure—can work together to influence engagement in online cross-cutting political discussion. Using panel data from a two-wave national survey conducted in 2012, we test two competing theoretical accounts. Findings suggest that incidental exposure affects selective exposure’s contribution to cross-cutting discussion in a curvilinear way. Incidental exposure strengthens the impact of selective exposure on cross-cutting discussion up until a certain point, after which it begins to attenuate its impact. Results emphasize the need to account for the multiple ways people encounter political information online.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-597
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • cognitive dissonance
  • cross-cutting discussion
  • incidental exposure
  • politics
  • selective exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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