Matthew Motta

Matt is a Political Science PhD candidate and National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota. He also holds a Robert T. Holt distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for his work on how citizens learn from campaign advertising. Matt received a B.A. in Government from Wesleyan University in 2013, and is currently studying American Politics and Quantitative Methods (with a PhD minor in Political Psychology). Matt's research primarily focuses on what citizens know about politics. How do citizens learn about politics and campaigns, and how does that information shape the political decisions they make? More generally, what types of information are necessary to be a "good citizen?" Matt is also broadly interested in citizens' attitudes towards "experts" (e.g., scientists, academics). His research asks why some people distrust experts, what consequences this might have on their political opinions, and how these attitudes might be mitigated. Matt is a Research Associate for the Wesleyan Media Project (2015 - present), where he has previously worked as a coding supervisor (2010-2013). He has also overseen data collection and preparation on a national election panel study for the Center for the Study of Political Psychology (2016).

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts: Government, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, 2013.

Curriculum Vitae


  • Political Psychology
  • Public Opinion and Political Behavior
  • Political Expertise
  • Political Advertising
  • Campaigns & Elections
  • Survey Methodology
Courses Taught
  • POL 3766 - Political Psychology of Mass Behavior
Research & Professional Activities


  • Survey Administrator - 2016 CSPP National Election Panel Study: Data collection & preparation, Summer 2016 - Winter 2016
  • Research Associate - Wesleyan Media Project: November 2015 - Present
  • Motta, Matthew (2016). What do interviewer intelligence ratings actually measure?. Research and Politics, 3(3), 1-10. Link
  • Motta, Matthew, Timothy Callaghan, Brianna Smith (2016). Looking for Answers: Identifying Search Behavior and Improving Knowledge-Based Data Quality in Online Surveys. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Link
  • Motta, Matthew (2016). Book Review of "Uninformed: Why People Seem to Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It." By Arthur Lupia. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.. Journal of Politics, 78(4), E17-E18. Link
  • Motta, Matthew, Erika Franklin Fowler (2016). The Content and Effect of Political Advertising in U.S. Campaigns. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, Link
  • Motta, Matthew, Erika Franklin Fowler (2016). The Content and Effect of Political Advertising in U.S. Campaigns. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, Link
  • Motta, Matthew (2016). Air war? Campaign advertising in the 2016 Presidential Election. US Election Analysis 2016, Link
  • Smith, BA, Murib, Z., Motta, MP, Callaghan, TH, & Theys M. “Gay or Homosexual? The Implications of Social Category Labels for the Structure of Mass Attitudes." Forthcoming at American Politics Research.
  • Motta, Matthew P. "The Dynamics and Political Implications of Anti-Intellectualism in the U.S." Accepted at American Politics Research
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Fall 2014 - Fall 2017
  • Robert T. Holt Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Minnesota Graduate School, Fall 2017 - Fall 2018
© 2016 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy Statement