070 | How the media might be contributing to candidate choice and political polarisation: perspectives on the 2019 presidential elections in Argentina.

Cognition, Behavior, and Memory

Author: Tomas Alves Salgueiro | Email: tomasalvessalgueiro@gmail.com

Tomas Alves Salgueiro , Emilio Recart Zapata , Pablo Nicolas Fernandez Larrosa

1° Laboratorio de la Conciencia, Instituto de Fisiología, Biología Molecular y Neurociencias (IFIBYNE), CONICET-UBA

Political polarization is the extreme stances of groups viewing politics and society as a division between “us” and “them”. It is induced by shared political/ideological representations and emotional elements. Previous research has shown that repetition or association with positive content can induce the choice of certain faces. In the 2019 Argentinean elections, we observed a significant correlation between the frequency of candidates’ mention in the media and their familiarity. Trust in them also correlated significantly with the positive perception of them in news headlines. Both familiarity and trust were explanatory variables for the voting probability. The present study assesses whether familiarity and trust can be predictors of the vote, as well as analyzes voting communities in a cluster analysis associated with ideological self-perception or the media outlets they consume to inform themselves. Our results show that both familiarity and trust predict the candidate chosen, being social variables of political interest to be manipulated. We found key links between political ideology, media consumption, and elected candidates in voter population characterization. The media’s significant impact on promoting candidates and influencing their election has been demonstrated in past elections, including the 2023 PASO. These mechanisms’ continued existence only serves to erode people’s freedoms, harming relationships between different groups and the overall democratic system.