[Air-l] Technology & Tolerance

Philip N. Howard pnhoward at u.washington.edu
Mon Dec 2 10:46:53 PST 2002

I'm editing a book with contributions from a number of Airers.  The
collection will have one piece by John Robinson, Alan Neustadtl, and Meyer
Kestnbaum at Maryland called "Technology & Tolerance:  Public Opinion
Differences Among Internet Users and Non-Users" that takes a step closer to
making a causal connection between experience online and tolerant attitudes.
Here's a teaser:

"Clearly, then, Internet users do give more tolerant responses, even though
their tolerance levels do increase as a simple function of more Internet
exposure.  These differences, moreover, are not a simple function of a
common correlation with the basic demographic predictors of Internet use.
Internet users, then, do tend to be more tolerant on these GSS items
independent of their demographic background."

Book should be out mid-next year if you want the full arguement.  Just
eyeballing one of their tables, it looks like Internet users become more
tolerant of assertive minorities, women working outside the home, children
thinking for themselves, homosexuality; Internet Users become more confident
in science as an institution; they trust more people, think people are fair,
and think life is more exciting.  These relationships are not monotonic,
however, so I probably can't make my life more exciting by using the
Internet even more.  I certainly think life is more exciting, but I'm not so
sure about children thinking for themselves, N=1.
Philip N. Howard
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication
University of Washington

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