Jaime Settle, a member of the SSRC Media & Democracy program’s advisory board, discusses her new book in the latest contribution to Democracy Papers. In Frenemies: How Social Media Polarizes America, she takes a deep look at how political information spreads on social media, emphasizing the importance of seemingly unpolitical posts and of exposure to the political opinions of people with whom we share only weak social ties.
Jaime Settle is an associate professor of government, director of the Social Networks and Political Psychology Lab, and codirector of the Social Science Research Methods Center at the College of William & Mary. She is a scholar of American political behavior, interested in understanding the way that the American public experiences politics on a day-to-day basis. More specifically, her research focuses on how political interactions—in both face-to-face and online contexts—affect the way individuals perceive conflict in their environment, evaluate other people, and engage within the political system. Settle has published in Nature and the American Journal of Political Science and has been supported by the National Science Foundation. She received a Distinguished Junior Scholar Award in political psychology from the American Political Science Association and the Rising Star Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. Settle earned a PhD in political science from UCSD and a BA from the University of Richmond. Settle is also a member of the advisory board of the SSRC’s Media & Democracy program.