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Dynamic Spirals Put to Test: An Agent‐Based Model of Reinforcing Spirals Between Selective Exposure, Interpersonal Networks, and Attitude Polarization


Journal of Communication

Published online on


Within the context of partisan selective exposure and attitude polarization, this study investigates a mutually reinforcing spiral model, aiming to clarify mechanisms and boundary conditions that affect spiral processes—interpersonal agreement and disagreement, and the ebb and flow of message receptions. Utilizing agent‐based modeling (ABM) simulations, the study formally models endogenous dynamics of cumulative processes and its reciprocal effect of media choice behavior over extended periods of time. Our results suggest that interpersonal discussion networks, in conjunction with election contexts, condition the reciprocal effect of selective media exposure and its attitudinal consequences. Methodologically, results also highlight the analytical utility of computational social science approaches in overcoming the limitations of typical experimental and observations studies.