1st Edition

Right-Wing Media’s Neurocognitive and Societal Effects

By Rodolfo Leyva Copyright 2023
    200 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book empirically tests, compares, and explains the effects of British and American legacy conservative press and far-right websites, on accordant political views and behavioural intentions.

    Correspondingly, the 2016 Brexit Referendum and American Presidential election results are often attributed to the spread of fake news through social media, Russian Bots, and alt-right news websites. This has raised concerns about the impact of digital disinformation on democracy, as well as the rise of nativist parties and movements worldwide. However, this book argues that these causal attributions are largely based on unproven assumptions and deflect attention from the more influential and harmful role of traditional conservative media.

    To support this argument, Leyva incorporates insights from various fields such as neurocognitive science, media-communication research, cross-cultural psychology, and sociology. Additionally, the book presents primary evidence from a series of experiments that examined the effects of candidate-related fake news and immigration coverage from both old and new media right-wing sources. These experiments focused on how such content influences anti-immigrant attitudes and voter preferences. By doing so, the book provides a nuanced and robustly tested theoretical account of how right-wing media affects political beliefs, sentiments, and practices at the neuronal level, and of how this can in turn negatively impact democratic multicultural societies.

    Given its interdisciplinary approach, this book will be of interest to scholars in the social, behavioural, and cognitive sciences who are studying media psychology, online misinformation, authoritarian populism, political sociology, new media, and journalism.


    1    How Our Brains Form and Maintain Political Positions

    2    The Insidious Ways News Content Can Inflects People’s Politics

    3   Does Digital Fake News Change Voting Choices?: A Priming Experiment

    4    Old vs New Right-Wing Media’s Fomentation of Xenophobia: A Framing Experiment

    5    Tabloids and Public Support for Immigration: A Cultivation Experiment  

    6    On the Importance of Journalism Ethics for a Democratic Society




    Dr. Rodolfo Leyva is a Lecturer in Quantitative Methods at the University of Birmingham – School of Social Policy.