cropped-big-sur1-e1395766690384.jpgI am an assistant professor in the Florida State University political science department.

I received my PhD from the University of California Davis in June, 2012.

My research examines how individuals’ political attitudes and voting behavior are influenced by the people around them.

I teach courses on political psychology, media and politics,  social network analysis, and research methods.

You can contact me at matthew.pietryka@gmail.com


Updated: June 19, 2017


  1. From Respondents to Networks: Bridging between Individuals, Discussants, and the Network in the Study of Political Discussion. (In Press)
    • Matthew T. Pietryka, Jack Reilly, Patrick Miller, Daniel Maliniak, Ronald B. Rapoport, and Robert Huckfeldt
    • Political Behavior
  2. It’s Not Just What You Have, but Who You Know: Networks, Social Proximity to Elites, and Voting in State and Local Elections (2017)
    • Matthew T. Pietryka and Donald A. DeBats
    • American Political Science Review
  3. Accuracy Motivations, Predispositions, and Social Information in Political Discussion Networks (2016)
    • Matthew T. Pietryka
    • Political Psychology
  4. Real-Time Reactions to a 2012 Presidential Debate: A Method for Understanding Which Messages Matter (2014)
    • Amber E. Boydstun, Rebecca A. Glazier, Matthew T. Pietryka, and Philip Resnik
    • Public Opinion Quarterly
  5. Colleague Crowdsourcing: A Method for Fostering National Student Engagement and Large-N Data Collection (2014)
    • Amber E. Boydstun, Jessica T. Feezell, Rebecca A. Glazier, Timothy P. Jurka, and Matthew T. Pietryka
    • PS: Political Science & Politics
  6. Noise, Bias, and Expertise in Political Communication Networks (2014)
    • Robert Huckfeldt, Matthew T. Pietryka, and Jack Reilly
    • Social Networks
  7. An Analysis of ANES Items and Their Use in the Construction of Political Knowledge Scales (2013)
    • Matthew T. Pietryka and Randall MacIntosh
    • Political Analysis
  8. Playing to the Crowd: Agenda Control in Presidential Debates (2013)
    • Amber E. Boydstun, Rebecca A. Glazier, and Matthew T. Pietryka
    • Political Communication
  9. Going Maverick: How Candidates Can Use Agenda-Setting to Influence Citizen Motivations and Offset Unpopular Issue Positions (2012)
    • Matthew T. Pietryka and Amber E. Boydstun
    • Political Behavior
  10. The Roles of District and National Opinion in 2010 Congressional Campaign Agendas (2012)
    • Matthew T. Pietryka
    • American Politics Research


  1. Noise, Bias, and Expertise: The Dynamics of Becoming Informed (2014)
  2. Opinion Leaders, Expertise, and the Complex Dynamics of Political Communication (2014)


  1. Scalable Multidimensional Response Measurement using a Mobile Platform (In Press)
    • Philip Resnik, Amber E. Boydstun, Rebecca A. Glazier, and Matthew T. Pietryka
    • In Political Communication in Real Time: Theoretical and Applied Research Approaches, eds. D. Schill, R. Kirk, and A. E. Jasperson.
  2. Networks, Interdependence, and Social Influence in Politics (2013)
    • Robert Huckfeldt, Jeffery J. Mondak, Matthew Hayes, Matthew T. Pietryka, and Jack Reilly
    • In Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology, eds. Leonie Huddy, David O. Sears, and Jack Levy.
  3. Party, Constituency, and Representation in Congress (2010)
    • Walter J. Stone and Matthew T. Pietryka.
    • In State of the Parties, eds., John C. Green, and Daniel J. Coffey.


The Effects of Discussion on Turnout: What can we learn from Observational Survey Data?

w/ Dennis F. Langley

Scholars often use survey data to study how discussion networks influence electoral turnout. Recent work has brought attention to several pervasive aspects of discussion networks that may confound such causal estimates. These confounds include shared environments and the selection of discussion partners on the basis of shared attributes. In this paper, we identify a new threat to causal inference for the study of discussion effects: We show that the well-known problem of turnout over-reporting in surveys is driven by characteristics of individuals’ discussion networks. We go on to show that analyses failing to account for this pattern may obtain biased estimates of the relationship between individuals’ discussion networks and their self-reported turnout.

Networks of Mobilization: Student Involvement in a Municipal Election

w/ Robert Huckfeldt, Daniel M. Maliniak, Patrick Miller, Ronald Rapoport, and Jack Reilly

An enduring issue in the study of political participation is the extent to which political awareness and engagement are socially or individually motivated. We address these issues in the context of a municipal election which generated a high level of political engagement on the part of college students for whom the election was relevant. An effort was made to interview all these students using an on-line survey, and the students were asked to provide information on their friendship networks. The paper demonstrates that awareness and engagement are not simply a consequence of individually defined interests and awareness, but rather that individuals are informed and engaged based on their locations within structured networks of social interaction. [draft]

Deliberation and Motivated Reasoning in Informal Discussion Networks

Many scholars view formal deliberative discussion as a solution to the innumerable informational shortcomings of citizens in democracies, demonstrating how citizens emerge from these conversations with more enlightened preferences and greater interest in political participation. Unfortunately, the highly-structured deliberative settings in which these discussions occur are costly and infrequent. Work has thus sought to understand whether these benefits emerge from the informal political discussions that arise in everyday life. This work has produced mixed results: benefits of informal discussion emerge in some studies, but not in others. I argue that these differences arise due to the variation in the motivations that discussion partners bring to the conversation. Drawing from psychological theories of motivated reasoning, this project develops and tests a theory of how motivations influence the efficacy of political discussion. To do so, I rely on a small-group experiment in which individuals receive and exchange information to help them learn about the benefits offered by two computer-generated candidates. In the experiment, I alter subjects’ (1) motivations to provide accurate information to fellow subjects and (2) the strength of their partisan predispositions toward the competing candidates. The results of the study suggest that subjects’ motivations ultimately determine the utility of political discussion.