The Effects of Political Conflict News Frame on Political Polarization: A Social Identity Approach

Youngju Kim, Shuhua Zhou


News media and journalists tend to focus on political conflicts between major parties rather than on issue content. Does this news reporting behavior encourage the psychological process of polarization? By linking framing with social identity and self-categorization theories, this study explores how news frames affect political polarization through the party identification process. Results of this experimental study showed that the political conflict news frame played an important role as a contextual/situational factor that momentarily increased people’s political identity salience, resulting in perceptual and attitudinal political polarization. Implications are discussed.


polarization, framing, identity salience, party conflict news

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