Professor Carlson studies American Politics with a focus on political communication and political psychology.
Americans are increasingly concerned about where we learn about politics. The reality is that many Americans learn about politics from conversations with friends and family. In the face of fake news, misinformation, and polarization, Carlson studies the content and consequences of interpersonal political communication. Her research agenda includes three large projects: 1. Informational Consequences of Interpersonal Communication: The research stemming from my dissertation focuses on understanding how political information gets distorted through social transmission and why it matters. Carlson examines the content of interpersonal political communication, how it differs from other information sources, and how these differences affect political attitudes and behavior. While some of this work has been published in articles, she is transitioning this research into a book manuscript. 2. Contentious Interpersonal Political Interactions Project: This co-authored NSF-funded book project explores why some individuals engage in (or avoid) political interactions and how individuals actually experience political discussion. Jaime Settle and Carlson use survey, experimental, psychophysiological, and social network data in this project and related articles. 3. Evaluating the Impact of Political Networks Among Ethnoracial Minorities: This co-authored book project (under contract with Oxford University Press) investigates political discussion networks among ethnoracial minority groups. Marisa Abrajano, Lisa García Bedolla, and Carlson use original survey data matched with publicly available voter records to examine how political discussion networks vary between ethnoracial minority groups.