A tendency for people both consciously and unconsciously to seek out material that supports their existing attitudes and opinions and to actively avoid material that challenges their views. More broadly, audiences may seek congruence with their predispositions, including any aspect of their identity. Some psychologists have argued that individuals selectively screen out information to avoid cognitive dissonance. The concept derives from US mass-media research in the early 1960s, where it supported theories of limited effects and the rejection of the hypodermic model. In interpersonal communication it is reflected in selective listening. See also receiver selectivity; compare selective distortion.
Subjects: Media studies