The Management Department
Department Seminar Series
Monday, October 29th 2018
Room LE CLUB at 10:00 am
Theme: “Dampening the Echo: Receptiveness to Opposing Views, Majority-Minority Distance, and Network Homogeneity”
Abstract: Social worlds often splinter into echo chambers as people preferentially form ties to others who hold similar political views and avoid affiliating with those who disagree with them. Group composition often contributes to this dynamic, with those in the ideological majority being less likely than those in the minority to form relationships with ideological opponents. This article examines how an individual difference—receptiveness to opposing views—can counteract these tendencies and thereby dampen the echo in some chambers. We develop a theoretical account of how micro-level differences in receptiveness can give rise to macro-level patterns of network heterogeneity. In particular, we theorize that prospective interaction partners who are more mutually receptive will be less prone to forming ties on the basis of political homophily or triadic closure. In groups with majority and minority factions, we further propose that mutual receptiveness will increase the propensity of group members in the political majority to form ties with minority group members. We evaluate and find support for these ideas using field data from three sites that vary in political orientation, analyzing tens of thousands of dyads composed of 599 participants. We discuss implications for research on individual differences and networks, attitude polarization, and group composition.