How agenda setting works: A dual path model and motivated reasoning

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines whether agenda-setting effects occur along dual paths and what role motivated goals play in that process. Based on an experimental design that employed a specially constructed news website, this study examined whether dual paths of agenda setting – a casual path and deliberative path – depend on types of motivated goals, that is, whether individuals have motivations to look for accurate news or like-minded news. The role that motivated goals play in the agenda-setting process is important, especially in the new media environment, because audiences’ news consumption has become politically polarized and aligned with their prior beliefs, which may lead them to have perceptions that are contradictory to those of the media about what issues are important and how to think about those issues. Findings of this study showed that a deliberative path – that is, reading more articles – was likely to result in higher agenda-setting effects. A deliberative path also led to even greater agenda-setting effects for individuals with accuracy goals compared to individuals with directional goals. A casual path led to greater agenda-setting effects for individuals with directional goals than for those with accuracy goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2279-2296
Number of pages18
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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