Study participants will be recruited through Facebook advertisements targeting Indians in Hindi-speaking states who have indicated an interest in Hindu nationalism (“Hindutva”).
After collecting simple demographic questions and passing attention-check/screening questions, participants are randomized into seeing either the two treatment videos or two placebo videos on trust or population.
- Trust Treatment: The trust game is briefly explained, and participants are told that Muslims return all money twice as often as Hindus.
- Trust Placebo: The trust game is briefly explained, and participants are told nothing about the behavior of Hindus or Muslims.
- Population Treatment: The video debunks the myth that the Muslim population could overtake the Hindu population in India.
- Population Placebo: Participants are provided with information about Buddhist population trends in India.
Then, the posterior belief outcomes are elicited (a tertiary outcome).
Participants are randomized into two outcome measures:
- In the one case, we measure demand for selective exposure -- biased vs. unbiased news for a long-term news subscription service (primary outcome)
- In the other one case, we measure demand for biased vs. unbiased news sources for usage in an incentivized fact-finding activity (secondary outcome, in order to assess whether they are conscious of the bias)
We hypothesize that:
- After treatment, if participants exhibit motivated reasoning (in the sense of experiencing disutility from revising their negative views about Muslims), then they will be more likely to select into the biased/pro-Hindu news subscription, or at least no more likely to select away from it.
- After treatment, participants might be less likely to select pro-Hindu/biased journalists in the fact-finding activity, or at least no more likely to select it. Our prediction here is more ambiguous given that, for some respondents, the reward entering a correct answer may not outweigh their demand for biased information. (secondary outcome)
- People will immediately update their posteriors to reflect the information they have been given in the treatment (tertiary outcome)