Why Are “Others” So Polarized? Perceived Political Polarization and Media Use in 10 Countries

Jung Hwan Yang, Hernando Rojas, Magdalena Wojcieszak, Toril Aalberg, Sharon Coen, James Curran, Kaori Hayashi, Shanto Iyengar, Paul K. Jones, Gianpietro Mazzoleni, Stylianos Papathanassopoulos, June Woong Rhee, David Rowe, Stuart Soroka, Rodney Tiffen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study tests the associations between news media use and perceived political polarization, conceptualized as citizens’ beliefs about partisan divides among major political parties. Relying on representative surveys in Canada, Colombia, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, we test whether perceived polarization is related to the use of television news, newspaper, radio news, and online news media. Data show that online news consumption is systematically and consistently related to perceived polarization, but not to attitude polarization, understood as individual attitude extremity. In contrast, the relationships between traditional media use and perceived and attitude polarization is mostly country dependent. An explanation of these findings based on exemplification is proposed and tested in an experimental design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-367
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Exemplification
  • Internet
  • News
  • Perceived Polarization
  • Political Polarization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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