PhD Student: Selina Noetzel

Due to its theorized potential to both, significantly benefit and harm democratic processes, online political microtargeting has become the hot topic in the scholarly debate surrounding political campaigning over the last couple of years. However, the empirical state of the art is still in its infancy. Research thus far has focused primarily on the impact on voter behavior, which produced heterogeneous, partially even contradictory findings. This inconsistency can be explained by a lack of research on the underlying attention-based, cognitive, and affective processes.

This project takes a step back from the research focus thus far and investigates the antecedents of voter behavior; hence, the psychological processing of political microtargeting instead. Building upon the Persuasion Knowledge Model (Friestad & Wright, 1994), this project centers around the overarching question: How do individuals process political microtargeting? It aims to delve into how individuals experience and understand political microtargeting; how they allocate their attention and activate their cognitive defense mechanisms (e.g., persuasion knowledge, reactance, avoidance); and how these processes are related to individuals’ affective responses (i.e., anger, feeling of intrusiveness).


  • Marlis Stubenvoll


  • Jörg Matthes