Research

Background Information & Facts

Published on June 10th, 2015

For their latest collaboration, teams from the Center for Media Engagement and the National Institute for Civil Discourse conducted an experiment that tested whether having facts (verified information about an issue), background information that included pro and con arguments, or both affected study participants’ thoughts and behaviors.

Our research found that people are more willing to get involved in political discussion when they’re provided with background information containing pro and con arguments.

Other results featured in the report include:

  • Background information containing pro and con arguments made participants feel 7 percent calmer and more satisfied than factual information.
  • When participants thought that the discussion would be civil, they expressed more interest in returning to the site.
  • When participants thought that the information was accurate and the site was balanced, they expressed more interest in returning to the site.

Researchers

Cynthia Peacock

Alex Curry

Arielle Cardona

Natalie (Talia) Jomini Stroud