Using gamification to help identify biases, increase media literacy, and reduce political polarization

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Svoboda, Julie
Blom, Robin
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This project is designed to increase media literacy by helping users recognize their own partisan bias as well as media bias or slant when deciding which news stories are most factual. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the proliferation of broadband internet created the unregulated, competitive, and partisan news media of today. Heuristics such as confirmation bias and selective exposure save news consumers the time and mental labor required to determine whether news is factual and objective rather than slanted in some way. The result of biased news consumers and biased media is political polarization within the electorate, which destabilizes a democracy because there is not an agreed-upon reality from which to determine what is best for society. The project consists of a quiz that presents three headlines describing the same event, from three different news sources. One source will be neutral, one conservative, and one liberal. The user will select which headline describes the event most factually. At the end of the quiz, the user will be told whether they chose headlines from a slanted source. The last screen will have information about confirmation bias, media bias, and tips for determining whether a news story is biased or from a journalistic rather than editorial source.