Gender, Political Persuasion, and Social Media: A Field Experiment During the 2020 Democratic Primary

November 29, 2021
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This event is part of the Speaker Series on Misinformation, co-sponsored by the NULab for Texts, Maps, and Networks, the Network Science Institute, and the Shorenstein Center.

Research indicates women have less influence than men in a variety of professional settings, including politics. We conducted a field experiment on a social media platform where Democrats were randomly assigned female or male avatar before discussing their preferred candidate for the 2020 presidential primary election. By measuring changes in people’s preferences before and after they are exposed to these avatars, we examine how gender stereotypes and gendered language contribute to political persuasion.

Chris Bail is Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Duke University, where he directs the Polarization Lab. A Guggenheim and Carnegie Fellow, he studies political extremism on social media using tools from the emerging field of computational social science. He is the author of Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make our Platforms Less Polarizing.