COLUMBIA, Mo. — A study from the University of Missouri has found that people who tweet during presidential debates tend to learn more.
Researchers with the university’s Political Communication Institute tried to determine if tweeting during debates is a distraction, The Columbia Missourian reported .
The study found that regardless of political leaning, people who tweeted learned more about the candidates’ stances.
The study focused on two kinds of debate tweets: ones that focused on certain issues presented during the debate and ones that focused on a candidate’s image and debate performance.
“Our research is looking at people who are tweeting about the debate, and especially the people who are tweeting about issues are remembering more and doing better on our post-debate quizzes,” said Ben Warner, an associate communication professor.
The study was based on the idea that people can be primed to process new information to either deliberately solidify their existing opinions or allow them to set aside biases to process new knowledge accurately.
“Twitter can demonstrate, in real time, the salience of political issues, the successes or failures of public-sphere arguments, or even the logic and underlying reasoning of the tweet’s authors,” the study said.
Mitchell McKinney, a political communication professor at the university, was part of the research team. He said the traditional ways of connecting with politics and communicating about politics has fundamentally changed.
“Democracy will survive the ‘twitterization’ of our political discourse,” McKinney said.
Information from: Columbia Missourian, http://www.columbiamissourian.com