A Panel Discussion about the 2020 Presidential Election
From Megan Galbreath
In many ways, the 2020 presidential election is unprecedented. The increasing polarization of the electorate, political influencers, disruptions due to COVID-19, and the proliferation of fringe media sources all pose threats to our democracy and public trust in our government.
For this 90-minute panel conversation, Illinois faculty will draw on their multidisciplinary research and expertise on elections to provide insights into how current events are shaping our approach to democracy, political divisiveness, and the media in a time of turmoil and crisis.
The panelists will share their perspectives on the psychological difference between liberals and conservatives, disinformation campaigns, addressing politics with others who do not share similar viewpoints, and more. The session will conclude with a moderated Q&A.
This webinar is hosted by the Center for Social and Behavioral Science.
Meet the panelists
Scott Althaus, Merriam Professor, Department of Political Science and Department of Communication
Prof. Althaus’s research explores the communication processes that support political accountability in democratic societies and that empower political discontent in non-democratic societies. His interests focus on four areas of inquiry: i) how journalists construct news coverage about public affairs, ii) how leaders attempt to shape news coverage for political advantage, iii) how citizens use news coverage for making sense of public affairs, and iv) how the opinions of citizens are communicated back to leaders.
Chadly Stern, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
Prof. Stern’s research examines how belief systems, and especially political belief systems, guide the way that people perceive and interact with the world. His research concerns how political belief systems (e.g., whether a person is liberal or conservative) shape the way in which people evaluate and categorize others based on group membership (e.g., race, sex, and sexual orientation).
Nikki Usher, Associate Professor, Department of Journalism and Department of Communication
Prof. Usher’s research addresses the myriad of challenges and opportunities facing the future of journalism in a democracy. Her research involves: i) trust, partisanship, and polarization in journalism, ii) platform politics, media and tech policy, and the future of journalism, iii) social media, and iv) artificial intelligence (ethics, values, and changes to journalism, knowledge, and labor).
JungHwan Yang, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication
Prof. Yang’s research focuses on the socially connected media environment. His interest is particularly aimed at how media users select political information according to personal interest, how media users express their own opinion on conflicting political issues, and how these media behaviors are related to political polarization in society.