2020-06-02: Reinforcing Spirals Model: Conceptualizing the Relationship Between Media Content Exposure and the Development and Maintenance of Attitudes




@JustMaier’s notes:




my notes on the paper

The cumulative result was, as expected, greater negative feeling about asylum seekers by the end of the campaign.

~ is the inverse true? What about counters? Is it the exposure of the arguments? Does it work with non-sensical arguments?

Per the systems theory language employed earlier, people satisfice in terms of the amount of information sought and the intensity of emotion felt.

found that indeed transnational TV viewing was associated with stronger Arab and Muslim political identification relative to national identification. Moreover, this effect was moderated by education. Generally, the more educated a respondent was, the weaker was Muslim identification relative to national identification. However, this gap closed with greater transnational TV viewing. Effects of internet viewing moderated effects in the opposite way. Generally, internet access was negatively associated with Muslim versus national identification, and this became stronger as education increased.

For example, public debate about an issue that is relevant to a social identity but not central to it (e.g., a proposed tax on cigarettes may be seen as an example of government interference and excessive taxation by political conservatives in the U.S., but in itself is may be less noxious than other possible initiatives) is not likely to trigger identity threat. In more extreme examples, when more fundamental beliefs or values are on the line, such as abortion or gun control, exposure to countervailing attitudes is likely to generate identity threat and stimulate greater selective use of identity-consistent communication content.

~ why? Because it integrates. It is useful to understand what happened to you, rather than to be prescribed what happened to you.

In the U.S., the portrayal of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) as fundamentally intrusive into individual liberties, and the widespread circulation of rumors such as requirements to imbed identifying computer chips into everyone’s flesh (e.g., McGuire, 2012), may exemplify the move of public debate from reasoned discussion of conflicting attitudes and beliefs to identity threat and polarization, associated with escalating reinforcing spiral effects.

One set of questions for future research involve identification of the moderating factors that lead to more extreme social identification and positive feedback processes, versus those that lead to homeostasis.

Perhaps the single strongest and most compelling reason that spirals reach homeostasis is simply that people satisfice. When media use (including interpersonal exchange via internet and social media) is in balance with identity threat, there is no need to increase use.

~ identity threat seems to be used as an alias for dissonance and consequent integration

There is considerable scope for future research to examine the impact of the salience of the particular identity under threat relative to a person’s other social identities.

~ be the independent/transcendent hero, your identity is threatened less

Also worth exploring are other potential moderators, including extent of peer diversity or homogeneity or demographic factors such as education, that might influence willingness to accept complexity and assimilate opposing views. Personality factors such as sensation-seeking may also play a moderating role. For example, sensation-seeking would predict a preference for increased arousal, and the anger and indignation likely to arise when consuming more extreme ideologically-consistent media content may provide such arousal.

my notes in retrospect


Crimes of the Century (WACO)

Gangster Jihad (This about an aussie who joined isis)

Defeating ISIS: The Impossible Coalition

City of Ghosts

ISIS: Deserters Speak Out

Gang Stalking


  • Joining ISIS will not happen purely from ISIS propaganda, there needs to also be existential threats in one’s own life. The aussie who joined was an ISIS sympathsiser for a long time, multiple years, but it was only until he became on the run for other crimes in Australia, he fled to be part of ISIS.

  • The focus on ISIS propagandising children is about building up a child’s sense of reality, to then make concepts such as liberty an identity-threat to them which their primed response is violence

  • Pairing all that above, with the spacex launch videos (where great emphasis was put into propaganda for children for showing them what happens when we work together - which trump attended the viewing of, on both launches, and trump also mentioned the same, what happened when we work together in his lockdown speech)