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Keywords:

  • social networks;
  • political thinking;
  • political discussion

In this article we investigate the effect of social networks on the quality of political thinking. First, the article introduces new social network concepts into the literature and develops the corresponding measures. Second, the article explores the quality of political thinking as a concept and develops its measures based on the volume and the causality of thoughts, and their integrative complexity. We make use of a survey to collect information on social networks and the experimental manipulation controls for the effect of policy frames. Our findings consistently show the significant negative impact of cohesive social networks on the quality of policy-relevant thinking. We conclude that close-knit social networks could create “social bubbles” that would limit how one communicates with others and reasons about politics.