Selection and Transmission Processes for Information in the Emerging Media Environment: Psychological Motives and Message Characteristics

Media Psychol. 2015 Jul 1;18(3):396-424. doi: 10.1080/15213269.2014.941112.


The emerging media environment introduced fundamental changes in the quality and format of information available to the public, which can now flexibly seek, alter, and disseminate the information they receive. Therefore, the two processes of information selection and information retransmission are crucial for understanding the reach of any information available in the online information environment. From this starting point, we examine the common psychological motives driving information selection and transmission of attitude-relevant information: Defense and accuracy motives adding a focus on interpersonal motives. We also review message factors that can activate psychological motives leading to selection of retransmission of information, such as the desire for novelty and emotional stimulation. We speculate about the directions for the next generation of research necessary to understand exposure as a core outcome in media effects research and theory.

Keywords: accuracy motive; attitude; defense motive; exposure; impression management; media; new media; relationship management; selection; selective exposure; transmission.