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Schweitzer Serdült

Fakultäten » Rechtswissenschaftliche Fakultät » Rechtswissenschaftliches Institut » Staats-, Verwaltungs- und Völkerrecht » Prof. Dr. Andreas Glaser » Schweitzer Serdült

Completed research project

Title / Titel The Role of Emotional Interactions in the Polarization of Opinions in Participatory Media
PDF Abstract (PDF, 14 KB)
Summary / Zusammenfassung The proliferation of online participatory media - such as social networking sites, blogs and online fora - has recently changed Internet users from simple information consumers to participants that actively create, share, evaluate and discuss content. This recent development provides a number of opportunities and challenges that are the subject of current research. On the one hand, participatory media provide the potential to increase citizens' engagement in discussions on political and societal issues. At the same time, there is increasing evidence that - under certain conditions - interactions between users can lead to an increasing polarization of opinions. Group dynamics can lead to the emergence of opposing collective opinions that are often hard to reconcile. This development not only in fluences online participatory media, it increasingly aff ects the culture of political discourse. As such, polarization in online media is a relevant phenomenon that can affect the willingness of compromise across social groups. At the same time polarization provides a confrontation of opinions that is a cornerstone of a functional democratic society. A number of individual and collective mechanisms that can result in polarized collective opinions have been identified, e.g. in the fields of opinion dynamics, social psychology, political science and communication studies.
The goal of this interdisciplinary research project is to study the role of emotional interactions in the polarization of opinions. In particular, it will be studied under which conditions positive and negative emotions in online discussions can amplify polarization in online participatory media. We address this question in a quantitative way by means of novel computational methods like the automated emotional classi fication of texts, machine learning, statistical analysis of large-scale data and agent-based modeling.
Based on our experience in the modeling and analysis of collective emotions, we will for the first time combine fi ndings from the study of opinion dynamics with a quantitative approach to the modeling of emotional interactions. Furthermore, we will test hypothesis from social psychology and political science by means of an analysis of large-scale datasets that will be collected in the project. With this, we make an important and timely contribution to the interdisciplinary study of collective social phenomena in digital democracies.
Project leadership and contacts /
Projektleitung und Kontakte
Prof Frank Schweitzer (Project Leader) fschweitzer@ethz.ch
Dr. Uwe Serdült (Project Leader) uwe.serdult@zda.uzh.ch
Other links to external web pages http://p3.snf.ch/Project-146499
Funding source(s) /
Unterstützt durch
SNF (Personen- und Projektförderung)
Interdisciplinary project, SNF no CR21I1_146499
Duration of Project / Projektdauer May 2013 to Apr 2016