I have been thinking about how using social networks (like Facebook, Twitter and etc) have been changing the way we think. For example, Facebook feed is tailored on the basis of what we like. On Twitter, I usually follow people whose ideas I adhere to. So we are being introduced to information we like more and more thereby making us biased towards ideas that we like.

My question is: can you kindly point me to research studies that show we like to see/read information on themes/topics/ideas that we like?

Can you kindly give me some pointers on that? Thanks in advance.


1 Answer 1


What you describe is known as Selective Exposure to Information.

Selective exposure is a theory within the practice of psychology, often used in media and communication research, that historically refers to individuals’ tendency to favor information which reinforces their pre-existing views while avoiding contradictory information.

Below find extracts from this article about selective exposure:

The researchers found that people are about twice as likely to select information that supports their own point of view (67 percent) as to consider an opposing idea (33 percent). Certain individuals, those with close-minded personalities, are even more reluctant to expose themselves to differing perspectives
Perhaps more surprisingly, people who have little confidence in their own beliefs are less likely to expose themselves to contrary views than people who are very confident in their own ideas ...
The researchers also found, not surprisingly, that people are more resistant to new points of view when their own ideas are associated with political, religious or ethical values.

The above article is based on this research article.

A very related theory is the confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias, also called confirmatory bias or myside bias, is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities.

In my opinion the reasons why we employ selective exposure are:

  • Preserve and form identity
  • Belongingness
  • The need for certainty. We need to have firm theories that do not change whenever we encounter dis-confirming evidence.
  • Competence. The need to have good skills i.e. fishers forum

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