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Harnessing the Power of Focal Points To Measure Social Agreement

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  • Jim Engle-Warnick
  • Stuart Soroka

Abstract

This paper reports results from an application of Thomas Schelling's (1960) concept of a focal point to the measure of social agreement on the received tone of media content. In our experiments, subjects rate the tone, positive, negative, or neutral, of newspaper articles and news broadcasts, with an incentive to coordinate responses. We compare the content analysis of a traditional subject pool with those of a representative cross-section of the general public. Our application of the coordination game with strategy labels illustrates that the concept of a focal point can be put to use as a measure of social agreement. Le document présente les résultats obtenus en appliquant le concept de point focal, avancé par Thomas Schelling (1960), à la mesure de l'accord social concernant la perception du ton qui se dégage du contenu médiatique. Dans le cadre des expériences mises sur pied, les sujets évaluent le ton, positif, négatif ou neutre, adopté dans des articles de journaux et des bulletins de nouvelles et sont encouragés, par des mesures incitatives, à coordonner leurs réponses. Nous comparons l'analyse du contenu réalisée par un bassin traditionnel de sujets à celle menée par un échantillon représentatif du grand public. Notre application du jeu de coordination faisant appel à des étiquettes de stratégies démontre que la notion de point focal peut être utilisée pour mesurer l'accord social.

Suggested Citation

  • Jim Engle-Warnick & Stuart Soroka, 2009. "Harnessing the Power of Focal Points To Measure Social Agreement," CIRANO Working Papers 2009s-31, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2009s-31
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    File URL: http://www.cirano.qc.ca/files/publications/2009s-31.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Daniel Houser & Erte Xiao, 2011. "Classification of natural language messages using a coordination game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(1), pages 1-14, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Coordination; focal point; experiment; content analysis; media; Coordination; point focal; expérience; analyse du contenu; médias;

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