The Role of Conversation in Developing Accurate Political Perceptions: A Multilevel Social Network Approach

Authors


Corresponding author: William P. Eveland, Jr.; e-mail: eveland.6@osu.edu

Abstract

We employed social network data from 25 randomly sampled voluntary associations to understand the factors associated with accurate perceptions of candidate preferences of group members. We analyzed relationships at the dyadic level, but also considered the overall accuracy of perceptions by each ego of all alters (“perceptiveness”) and the overall accuracy of perception by all alters of each ego (“explicitness”) regarding candidate preferences using multilevel modeling techniques. We found low levels of accuracy on average, but high variability and differential patterns of prediction of perceptiveness and explicitness. There was a strong, consistent link between the frequency of communication and accuracy both at the dyadic and aggregate levels which was moderated by the homophily of political preferences within the group.

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