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AIAS Seminar: Lene Aarøe, AIAS-SHAPE Fellow

Do The Facts Matter? How Do Politicians and Citizens use Different Evidence to Update Their Policy Preferences

Credit: Colourbox.

Info about event


Monday 27 May 2024,  at 11:00 - 12:00


AIAS, Building 1630 room 301

Lene Aarøe, 2023-2024 AIAS-SHAPE Fellow

The seminar is held in-person, but online attendance is possible via: https://aarhusuniversity.zoom.us/j/67482436575


Statistics and exemplars are fundamental types of information in the public debate. But while the modern information environment is competitive, there is limited research examining how statistical evidence and narrative exemplars influence factual perceptions and policy support when they appear in competition each emphasizing different dimensions of an issue. Whilst single exemplars have been highlighted for their persuasive power, we still have a limited understanding of their persuasiveness in competitive communications context. This is important given normative calls for evidence-based policymaking on the one hand, and the demand for diverse perspectives in a society characterized by datafication, on the other hand.

In this seminar, I will present data of field survey experiments to a nationally representative sample of citizens and a population sample of political candidates running for national office in Denmark to study the effect of single exemplars and statistical information on factual perceptions, emotional responses, and policy support in competitive information contexts about welfare policy.  Our findings show that among citizens exposure to just a single exemplar can completely crowd out the effect of statistical evidence on policy support. Among politicians we find that when statistical information affects policy support in a non-competitive context, exposure to just a single exemplar completely crowds out the effect on the statistical information in the competitive context. 

The coauthors of the study that Lene Aarøe presents data from are: Lene Aarøe1, Miceal Canavan1 & Julian Christensen2

1 Department of Political Science, Aarhus University. Corresponding author: leneaaroe@ps.au.dk

2 VIVE – the Danish Center for Social Science Research

Short Bio 

Lene Aarøe is a Professor of Political Science at Aarhus University. Her research field is political psychology. She works interdisciplinarily at the intersection between political science, psychology, communication, and biology.

What is an AIAS Seminar?

The AIAS Seminar is a session of seminars held by the AIAS fellow or by other speakers proposed by the fellows. In each seminar, one fellow will present and discuss his/her current research and research project, closing off with a question and discussion session.

All seminars are held in English.