Taylor Carlson

Assistant Professor of Political Science
research interests:
  • American Politics
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • MSC 1063-228-207
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    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.

    What Goes Without Saying

    What Goes Without Saying

    Why are political conversations uncomfortable for so many people? The current literature focuses on the structure of people's discussion networks and the frequency with which they talk about politics, but not the dynamics of the conversations themselves. In What Goes Without Saying, Taylor N. Carlson and Jaime E. Settle investigate how Americans navigate these discussions in their daily lives, with particular attention to the decision-making process around when and how to broach politics. The authors use a multi-methods approach to unpack what they call the 4D Framework of political conversation: identifying the ways that people detect others' views, decide whether to talk, discuss their opinions honestly―or not, and determine whether they will repeat the experience in the future. In developing a framework for studying and explaining political discussion as a social process, What Goes Without Saying will set the agenda for research in political science, psychology, communication, and sociology for decades to come.