Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Followers Forever: Moral Character Evaluations and Forgiveness on Social Media

Talk by Simon Karg, Cambridge University

2018.05.07 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Date Tue 19 Jun
Time 11:00 13:00
Location IMC Meeting Room, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, Building 1483-312


When learning about moral wrongdoings of other people, we tend to forgive those that are close to us more easily. But does this also apply to public figures whom we do not know in person?

In this talk, I will present a new research project investigating follower responses in relation to a highly publicized scandal on YouTube. Using a new word vectorization approach on a large dataset of YouTube comments (n = 850.000) originating before and after the scandal, I find that the more often a person had publicly expressed their approval of the protagonist prior to the scandal, the stronger was their post-scandal support. Similarly, prior commitment also influenced shown emotions, and attempts to defend the transgressor. Thus, highly committed fans fail to update existing moral character evaluations even in light of an extreme transgression.


I conclude by situating these findings within a broader picture of the psychology underlying moral character judgments and their role in moral psychology.  

About the speaker:

Simon Karg, Cambridge University

PhD Fellow at Dept. of Management, Aarhus University from September 2018.