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The Role of Emotional Interactions in the Polarization of Opinions in Participatory Media

Applicant Schweitzer Frank
Number 146499
Funding scheme Interdisciplinary projects
Research institution Departement Management, Technologie und Ökonomie D-MTEC ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.05.2013 - 30.09.2016
Approved amount 462'260.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Political science
Other disciplines of Physics

Keywords (7)

Opinion dynamics; Online interaction; Social media; Emotions; Agent-based modeling; e-democracy; Political science

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Im Rahmen dieses Forschungsprojekts analysieren wir die Wechselwirkung zwischen emotionalen Äußerungen und der Polarisierung von Meinungen in partizipativen Onlinemedien. Unser quantitativer Ansatz beruht auf der Analyse großer Datensätze über online stattfindende Diskussionen zu politischen Themen. Anhand statistischer Analysen und Methoden der automatischen Textklassifizierung untersuchen wir, inwiefern emotionale Interaktionen eine Polarisierung von Meinungen begünstigen.
Lay summary
Durch die steigende Bedeutung von partizipativen Online Medien wie sozialen Netzwerken, Blogs oder Online Diskussionsforen ergeben sich eine Reihe von Chancen und Herausforderungen, welche zunehmend Gegenstand aktueller Forschung sind. Während diese Plattformen einerseits das Engagement der Bürger hinsichtlich politischer oder sozialer Themen stärken können, gibt es andererseits Hinweise für eine zunehmende Polarisierung von Meinungen. In diesem Projekt untersuchen wir den Zusammenhang zwischen emotionalen Interaktionen und der Polarisierung kollektiver Meinungen aus einer multidisziplinären und quantitativen Perspektive. Hierzu setzen wir neuartige Methoden zur automatisierten emotionalen Klassifizierung von Text, maschinellem Lernen, zur statistischen Analyse großer Datensätze sowie zur agentenbasierten Modellierung ein.

Das Ziel dieses interdisziplinären Projekts ist die Untersuchung der Rolle emotionaler Interaktionen in der Polarisierung von Meinungen. Durch eine Analyse dieses Phänomens in verschiedenen Onlinemedien werden wir insbesondere diejenigen Rahmenbedingungen untersuchen, welche zu einer Verstärkung von Polarisierung führen können. Da das verstärkte Auftreten solcher Polarisierungsphänomene in Onlinemedien eine zunehmende Gefahr für die Bereitschaft zur Kompromissbildung sowie die politische Entscheidungsfindung darstellt, hat unser Projekt unmittelbare Auswirkungen auf die Forschung zu sachunmittelbarer Demokratie sowie zu elektronischen Formen politischer Mitbestimmung. Unsere Simulationen und Analysen bilden zudem eine mögliche Basis für den gezielten Entwurf von Interaktionsmechanismen für zukünftige Onlineplattformen.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 10.05.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Anticipated Shocks in Online Activity: Response Functions of Attention and Word-of-mouth Processes
Stommel Sebastian, Garcia David, Abisheva Adiya, Schweitzer Frank (2016), Anticipated Shocks in Online Activity: Response Functions of Attention and Word-of-mouth Processes, in Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Web Science , ACM, New Yorik.
Emotions, Demographics and Sociability in Twitter Interactions
Lerman Kristina, Arora Megha, Gallegos Luciano, Kumaraguru Ponnurangam, Garcia David (2016), Emotions, Demographics and Sociability in Twitter Interactions, in Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, AAAI, Palo Alto.
Proanorexia Communities on Social Media
Oksanen Atte, Garcia David, Räsänen Pekka (2016), Proanorexia Communities on Social Media, in Pediatrics, 137(1), e20153372.
The Dynamics of Emotions in Online Interaction
Garcia David, Kappas Arvid, Kuster Dennis, Schweitzer Frank (2016), The Dynamics of Emotions in Online Interaction, in Royal Society Open Science, 3(160059), 0.
The QWERTY Effect on the Web: How Typing Shapes the Meaning of Words in Online Human-Computer Interaction
Garcia David, Strohmaier Markus (2016), The QWERTY Effect on the Web: How Typing Shapes the Meaning of Words in Online Human-Computer Interaction, in Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on World Wide Web, ACM, New York.
When the Filter Bubble Bursts: Collective Evaluation Dynamics in Online Communities
Abisheva Adiya, Garcia David, Schweitzer Frank (2016), When the Filter Bubble Bursts: Collective Evaluation Dynamics in Online Communities, in Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Web Science, ACM, New York.
Women Through the Glass-Ceiling: Gender Asymmetries in Wikipedia
Wagner Claudia, Graells-Garrido Eduardo, Garcia David (2016), Women Through the Glass-Ceiling: Gender Asymmetries in Wikipedia, in EPJ Data Science, 5(5), 23.
Becoming popular: Interpersonal emotion regulation predicts relationship formation in real life social networks
Niven Karen, Garcia David, Lowe Ilmo Van Der, Holman David, Mansell Warren (2015), Becoming popular: Interpersonal emotion regulation predicts relationship formation in real life social networks, in Frontiers in Psychology, 6(1452), 0.
Geography of Emotion: Where in a City are People Happier?
Gallegos Luciano, Lerman Kristina, Huang Arthur, Garcia David (2015), Geography of Emotion: Where in a City are People Happier?, in Proceedings of the 25th internationalWorld Wide Web conference companion, ACM, New York.
Ideological and Temporal Components of Network Polarization in Online Political Participatory Media
Garcia David, Abisheva Adiya, Schweighofer Simon, Serdult Uwe, Schweitzer Frank (2015), Ideological and Temporal Components of Network Polarization in Online Political Participatory Media, in Policy and Internet, 7(1), 46-79.
Pro-Anorexia and Anti-Pro-Anorexia Videos on YouTube: Sentiment Analysis of User Responses
Oksanen Atte, Garcia David, Sirola Anu, Näsi Matti, Kaakinen Markus, Keipi Teo, Räsänen Pekka (2015), Pro-Anorexia and Anti-Pro-Anorexia Videos on YouTube: Sentiment Analysis of User Responses, in Journal of Medical Internet Research, 11(17), e2560.
Quantifying the Economic and Cultural Biases of Social Media through Trending Topics
Carrascosa Juan Miguel, Cuevas Ruben, Gonzalez Roberto, Azcorra Arturo, Garcia David (2015), Quantifying the Economic and Cultural Biases of Social Media through Trending Topics, in PLOS ONE, 10(7), e0134407.
Sentiment cascades in the 15M movement
Alvarez Raquel, Garcia David, Moreno Yamir, Schweitzer Frank (2015), Sentiment cascades in the 15M movement, in EPJ Data Science, 4(6), 1.
Social signals and algorithmic trading of Bitcoin
Garcia David, Schweitzer Frank (2015), Social signals and algorithmic trading of Bitcoin, in Royal Society Open Science, 0.
The language-dependent relationship between word happiness and frequency
Garcia David, Garas Antonios, Schweitzer Frank (2015), The language-dependent relationship between word happiness and frequency, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS, Washington D.C..
Gender Asymmetries in Reality and Fiction : The Bechdel Test of Social Media
Garcia David, Weber Ingmar, Garimella Rama Venkata Kiran (2014), Gender Asymmetries in Reality and Fiction : The Bechdel Test of Social Media, in Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, AAAI Press, Palo Alto.
The digital traces of bubbles: Feedback cycles between socio-economic signals in the Bitcoin economy
Garcia David, Tessone Claudio Juan, Mavrodiev Pavlin, Perony Nicolas (2014), The digital traces of bubbles: Feedback cycles between socio-economic signals in the Bitcoin economy, in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 11(99), 20140623.
Who Watches ( and Shares ) What on YouTube ? And When ? Using Twitter to Understand YouTube Viewership
Abisheva Adiya, Garimella Venkata Rama Kiran, Garcia David, Weber Ingmar (2014), Who Watches ( and Shares ) What on YouTube ? And When ? Using Twitter to Understand YouTube Viewership, in In Proceedings of the 7th ACM international conference on Web search and data mining, ACM, New York.
Measuring cultural dynamics through the Eurovision song contest
Garcia David, Tanase Dorian (2013), Measuring cultural dynamics through the Eurovision song contest, in ACS - Advances in Complex Systems, 16(8), 33.
Political alignment and emotional expression in Spanish Tweets
Garcia David, Thelwall Mike (2013), Political alignment and emotional expression in Spanish Tweets, in Workshop on Sentiment Analysis at SEPLN, Spanish Society for Natural Language Processing, Madrid, Spain.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Business School of University of Manchester, Manchester Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Institute for Biocomputation and Physics of Complex Systems, University of Zaragoza Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Zentrum für Demokratie Aarau (ZDA), Aarau Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
IIIT Delhi, New Delhi India (Asia)
- Publication
Statistical Cybernetics Research Group, University of Wolverhampton Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Turku, Turku Finland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
University of Tampere, Tampere Finland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Qatar Computing Research Institute, Doha Qatar (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Science Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Research Group on Emotion, Cognition, and Social Context, Jacobs University Bremen Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Indiana University, Bloomington United States of America (North America)
- Publication
Leibniz Institute for Social Science (GESIS), Cologne Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Universidad Carlos III, Madrid Spain (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Internet, Policy, and Politics Conference Talk given at a conference Understanding popularity, reputation and social influence in the Twitter Society 23.09.2016 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Garcia Becerra David;
Stanford Psychophysiology Seminar Individual talk Modeling and analysis of emotions in online interaction 02.06.2016 Palo Alto, United States of America Garcia Becerra David;
Culture Analytics IPAM Workshop Talk given at a conference How group identity and human-computer interaction shape online communication 25.05.2016 Los Angeles, United States of America Garcia Becerra David;
8th International ACM Web Science Conference Poster When the Filter Bubble Bursts: Collective Evaluation Dynamics in Online Communities 22.05.2016 Hannover, Germany Abisheva Adiya;
International Conference on the Web and Social Media Talk given at a conference The Dynamics of Emotions in Online Interaction 19.05.2016 Cologne, Germany Garcia Becerra David;
WWW Conference Talk given at a conference The QWERTY effect on the web: How typing shapes the meanings of words in online human-computer interaction 15.04.2016 Montreal, Canada Garcia Becerra David;
MSM Workshop at WWW Conference Talk given at a conference Geography of emotion: Where in a city are people happier? 12.04.2016 Montreal, Canada Garcia Becerra David;
Karlsruhe Service Summit Talk given at a conference Understanding human emotions and social interaction through the lens of computational social science 24.02.2016 Karlsruhe, Germany Garcia Becerra David;
Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Study Group meeting at Delmenhorst Talk given at a conference Filter bubbles and QWERTY effects: How online interaction shapes human behavior 22.02.2016 Delmenhorst, Germany Garcia Becerra David;
Wikipedia, who talks about what? Conference Talk given at a conference Assessing Gender Inequality in Wikipedia 29.09.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Garcia Becerra David;
UC3M Computer Science Seminar Individual talk Polarization and Emotions in the Bitcoin Ecosystem 17.09.2015 Madrid, Spain Garcia Becerra David;
Inauguration of Swiss Doctoral School in Affective Sciences Poster Testing evaluative asymmetry through text responses in online communities 15.09.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Abisheva Adiya;
GESIS Computational Social Science seminar Individual talk Trading and social signals in the Bitcoin ecosystem 15.09.2015 Cologne, Germany Garcia Becerra David;
Plenary meeting of the International Society for Research on Emotion Talk given at a conference The positivity offset and the negativity bias of emotions in online communities 08.07.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Garcia Becerra David;
Plenary meeting of the International Society for Research on Emotions Poster Testing evaluative asymmetry through text responses in online communities 08.07.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Abisheva Adiya;
Plenary meeting of the International Society for Research on Emotion Poster Worry, Rumination, and Temporal Focus: Investigating Psychiatric Questions Using Large-Scale Online Data 08.07.2015 Geneva, Switzerland Schweighofer Simon;
International Conference on Computational Social Science Talk given at a conference Gender Asymmetries in Reality and Fiction: The Bechdel Test of Social Media 11.06.2015 Helsinki, Finland Garcia Becerra David;
International Conference on Computational Social Science Talk given at a conference Trading and social signals in the Bitcoin ecosystem 10.06.2015 Helsinki, Finland Garcia Becerra David;
CISA Seminar Individual talk The Digital Traces of Individual and Collective Emotions 17.12.2014 Geneva, Switzerland Garcia Becerra David;
Bell Labs Seminar Individual talk Computational Social Science: Studying and Modelling Humans Through Their Digital Traces 03.10.2014 Dublin, Ireland Garcia Becerra David;
Internet, Policy & Politics Conference Talk given at a conference Network polarization in online politics participatory media 26.09.2014 Oxford, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Garcia Becerra David;
GESIS Talk given at a conference Political activity and network polarization in online participatory media 08.09.2014 Cologne, Germany Garcia Becerra David;
Reading Emotions Conference Talk given at a conference Quantitative Analysis and Modeling of Collective Emotions in Online Communities 06.06.2014 Zurich, Switzerland Garcia Becerra David;
8th International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM '14) Talk given at a conference Gender Asymmetries in Reality and Fiction: The Bechdel Test of Social Media 02.06.2014 An Arbor, United States of America Garcia Becerra David;
SKIN3 workshop Talk given at a conference On Swiss multi-party political system and polarization in Politnetz 22.05.2014 Budapest, Hungary Abisheva Adiya;
First Zurich Computational Psychiatry Meeting Poster Worry, Rumination, and Temporal Focus: Investigating Psychiatric Questions Using Large-Scale Online Data 19.05.2014 Zurich, Switzerland Schweighofer Simon;
Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Delmenhorst Talk given at a conference Political activity and polarization in Politnetz and Twitter 10.05.2014 Bremen, Germany Garcia Becerra David;
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Individual talk Análisis de polarización, desigualdad y resiliencia social a través de huellas digitales 25.04.2014 Madrid, Spain Garcia Becerra David;
Consortium of European Research on Emotion Conference 2014 (CERE 2014) Talk given at a conference Understanding Collective Emotions in Online Communities Through Agent-Based Modelling 27.03.2014 Berlin, Germany Garcia Becerra David;
7th ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM '14) Talk given at a conference Who Watches ( and Shares ) What on YouTube ? And When ? Using Twitter to Understand YouTube Viewership 24.02.2014 New York, United States of America Abisheva Adiya;
CCNR seminar Individual talk Measuring Social Resilience and Polarization Through Digital Traces: The Autopsy of Friendster and the Eurovision Crisis 09.10.2013 Boston, United States of America Garcia Becerra David;
Workshop in Sentiment Analysis at SEPLN Talk given at a conference Political alignment and emotional expression in Spanish Tweets 30.08.2013 Madrid, Spain Garcia Becerra David;
Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg Study Group meeting in Konstanz Talk given at a conference Political Polarization in Participatory Media 27.06.2013 Konstanz, Germany Garcia Becerra David;
Non-Equilibrium Social Science Conference Talk given at a conference Political Polarization in Participatory Media 11.06.2013 Lisbon, Portugal Garcia Becerra David;
Global Brain Institute Seminar Individual talk Collective Emotions in the Internet Society 07.06.2013 Brussels, Belgium Garcia Becerra David;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
ZDA retreat 16.04.2016 Castasegna, Switzerland
ZDA retreat 11.03.2015 Castasegna, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
NZZ Hackdays Talk 04.09.2015 Zurich, Switzerland


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media El extraño efecto QWERTY: cuando las teclas dictan las emociones El Pais International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media QWERTY Keyboard May Influence Products We Like Sky News International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media QWERTY keyboards change how you feel about words Engadget International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media QWERTY Keyboards have changed how we feel about words Science International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media QWERTZ Zeit Wissen International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media The layout of QWERTY keyboards shapes our feelings about words New Scientist International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media The QWERTY keyboard is changing our feelings towards words Science Alert International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Wie ich tippe, so denke ich Tages Anzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Traditional media skips half the news ‘trending’ on ‘Twitter’ The financial express International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media El 15-M se alimentó de las emociones en Twitter El Pais International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Half of the most popular news on Twitter is not covered by traditional news media sources phys.org International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Kuorum.org, el LinkedIn de los líderes políticos El Molinillo ACOP International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Las emociones en Twitter sobre el bitcoin son capaces de mover su valor El Pais International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Los ‘trending topic’ de Twitter tienen un sesgo a favor de los países ricos El Pais International 2015
Media relations: radio, television Over de helft van de trending topics op Twitter lees je niets in de krant BNR International 2015
Media relations: radio, television Te doy mi palabra - Interview Onda Cero International 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions The digital traces of human emotions - Talk at European Researcher's Night Vienna International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Twitter news yet to gain popularity among traditional media [Report] Gizbot International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Twitter presenta un sesgo de género a favor de los hombres Materia International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Bitcoin price crashes linked to web search surges BBC International 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Gender Asymmetries in Reality and Fiction. ETH Science Slam German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Talks/events/exhibitions Gender Asymmetries in Reality and Fiction. EurAxess Roadshow Science Slam German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Heute bezahlen Hipster ihre Drinks mit Bitcoin Tages Anzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Hollywood setzt auf Männer Taqges Anzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Male-biased tweeting phys.org International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Male-biased tweeting: Gender differences in the use of Twitter Science Daily International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Neugier lässt den Kurs von Bitcoin steigen 20 Minuten German-speaking Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media New research says Twitter has a gender bias The daily dot International 2014
Media relations: radio, television Russia Today – Eurovision Doomed? Crisis forces mass exodus of participants Russia Today International 2014
Media relations: radio, television Varios países renuncian a participar en Eurovisión por problemas económicos Russia Today International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media What Do Women Talk About When They Talk On Twitter? Fast Company International 2014
Media relations: radio, television Euro debt crisis hits Eurovision SBS International 2013
Media relations: print media, online media Eurovision voting shows strain of economic crisis Nature International 2013
Media relations: print media, online media La crisis y la ciencia de Eurovisión: Europa explota RTVE International 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions The digital traces of social resilience. Scientifica Slam German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions The World between LOL and WTF: The digital traces of human emotions. ETH Science Slam German-speaking Switzerland 2013

Abstract

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 influences online participatory media, it increasingly affects 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 classification 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 findings 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.
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