Mass Communication and Society
Ciencias de la Computación
This study investigates the docudrama hypothesis—the idea that fiction based on real stories can influence audience members’ perception of political reality—in the context of current debates on partisan selective exposure and reinforcement effects. It does so by analyzing the influence of an Oscar-nominated docudrama on viewers’ attitudes and behavioral intention using propensity score matching. By means of a representative survey, we find strong evidence of partisan selective exposure and avoidance. Furthermore, among respondents with a similar likelihood of film attendance, actual attendance has a strong association with positive retrospective evaluations of the political coalition glorified in the movie, and an indirect relationship—via retrospective evaluations—with voting intentions. Discussion of the findings shed light into potential real-world political effects of partisan selective exposure using content other than news.