Examining the effects of attitude and importance on selective exposure to agricultural messages
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Social media platforms have changed how people communicate with one another and their communities. With the addition of programable algorithms and Web 3.0, users can form their own information bubble to confirm prior beliefs or attitude, known as confirmation bias. This study sought to explore the effects of attitude and importance on selective exposure, an indicator of confirmation bias. While previous studies regarding the effects of selective exposure have been mainly within the realm of political and health sciences, this current study explores in the realm of agricultural science. This quantitative study used a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the effects of attitude and topic importance on selective exposure. Randomized questionnaires were administered to 109 undergraduate students in a laboratory setting. Descriptive statistics answered research questions about participants’ attitude, topic importance, and time spent on different messages (pro- vs anti-agriculture). Inferential statistics were used to understand the impact of attitude on exposure to messages and topic importance on exposure to messages, and to evaluate the existence of confirmation bias. The results indicated a significant influence of attitude and topic importance on selective exposure for the two agriculture topics. The results encourage subsequent research to continue exploring the complex process of confirmation and selective exposure to online content. Additional insight in this area will help agricultural communicators develop more effective message strategies.