Making bias visibleIn order to overcome this political bias, the Jena researchers are focussing on one thing in particular: making it visible in order to create awareness of the problem in the first place. They want to develop a tool - a kind of test - that anyone interested can use to determine their own political bias. "Users will be able to assess factual situations based on reliable data on topics that are particularly politically polarising. The estimates will also reflect the respective political bias," explains the communication psychologist from Jena. "After answering several such questions, you can recognise a pattern that makes the bias visible and quantifiable." Thanks to a reference value previously determined by surveying a representative group, users can categorise their bias.
In order to constructively counter the possible accusation that subject areas for the estimates may be selected too selectively or even biased, the researchers involve the respondents directly in advance. They can suggest statistics and questions for the tool themselves. To this end, the Jena communication scientists have brought citizen science expert Christian Thiel on board, who is also responsible for the technical design and implementation of the self-test.
Stimulate self-reflectionIn a further step, Tobias Rothmund and his team want to check whether the method works. Ideally, a process of self-reflection is triggered that actually contributes to sensitisation, says the communication psychologist from Jena. "In any case, we gain important insights into how we can better counter the phenomenon of political bias. We need an enlightened society for the challenges of the future - and for this it is important to also make science communication the subject of research."
In order to stimulate such reflection processes at an early stage and support political education, the researchers also want to adapt the test for young people and for use in schools. The project is therefore linked to the Centre for Right-Wing Extremism Research, Democracy Education and Social Integration at the University of Jena.