Examining the Echo: Can Online Interfaces Promote Better Discussions on Social Media?

Date(s) - 04/20/2018
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Halls of Fame Room

On Friday, April 20, the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, the UNC School of Media and Journalism Junck Colloquium, the UNC Communications Dept. and UNC Global will host a lecture by Dr. Guido Zurstiege, Professor of Media Studies at the University of Tubingen in Germany.

Dr. Zurstiege and his colleagues at the Leibniz-Institute for Knowledge Media in Tubingen are experimenting with the design of cognitive interfaces to see whether presenting counter-attitudinal information can have debiasing effects on user attitudes in social media. Their research, “Debiasing Social Media Use Through Cognitive Interface Design,” was recently awarded three years of funding by the German government and its Excellence Initiative, a program designed to promote top-level research in Germany’s higher education system.

Zurstiege and his colleagues will first study polarization effects within Twitter’s echo chambers. Then, they will examine how polarization effects can be both exacerbated and attenuated through the information design of rating mechanisms. Zurstiege and his colleagues also plan to investigate whether direct experience with counter-attitudinal information has debiasing effects. Results from the previous project stages will inform the development of a design concept that tries to achieve debiasing effects by using novel rating mechanisms and eliciting counter-attitudinal advocacy.

Zurstiege’s research work focuses on advertising and corporate communication, media culture, media and communication theory, and reception and impact research. He studied communication science, English studies and economic policy in Münster. He has published books, collected works and essays (Rowohlt Verlag, UTB, VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Herbert von Halem Verlag) on subjects including media and communication science, consumption sociology and media cultural studies.

Tagged: Social Media
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