Social sleep and decision making

  • Panagiotis Mitkidis, Dept. of Management & Center for Advanced Hindsight, SSRI, Duke University
  • Seednumber: 26102
  • Collaborators: Dr. med. Henning Drews, M.A., Centre of Integrative Psychiatry (ZIP), Kiel, Germany, Collaborative Research Centre 654 “Plasticity and Sleep” of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; German Research Foundation)


Sleep is important for cognition and memory formation. Impaired sleep leads – amongst others – to changes in decision making. Likewise, sleep is an inherently social phenomenon as most people have a history of sharing a bed with other people. Despite the fact that socially sleeping is different to sleeping alone, particularly regarding REM and slow wave sleep, the rare previous studies on decision making and sleep have neglected co-sleeping.

We here propose an online survey to gain first insights into the relevance of co-sleeping to decision making in real-life. The survey is derived from established scales of sleep quality and environment, decision making, relationship quality and empathy. It is going to be completed regarding the regular home-sleep condition and the business trip condition. Purposeful sampling will focus on decision makers from academia and the private sector in Aarhus and Kiel. Data analysis will consist of e.g. multiple regression analysis.

This study promises to yield first insights into the importance of sleep quality and sleep mode to decision making, mirroring a first step into the broad, important and yet understudied field of sociality and sleep. The purposeful sampling would serve to make a contact with decision makers as possible subjects for further quasi-experimental behavioural studies. Moreover, it would foster the collaboration between the IMC and sleep medicine in Kiel, a connection which is predestined to investigate sleep and sociality as it combines expertise in (cognitive and clinical) sleep research and social interaction.

Investigating the cumulative cultural evolution of prehistoric human symbolic behavior

  • Kristian Tylén, School of Communication and Culture - Center for Semiotics
  • Seednumber: 26103
  • Collaborators: Riccardo Fusaroli, Katrin Heimann, Sergio Gonzalez de la Higuera Rojo, Niels Nørkjær Johannsen, and Felix Riede


Recently, there has been a great interest in connecting archeological findings to knowledge and hypotheses about cognitive evolution, including the evolution of language. Among the evidence discussed are line carvings, as they can be found in stone and ostrich shells dating back as far back as 100 ka. It has been suggested that developments in line patterns over time are related to adaptations for potential symbolic value and function (Henshilwood et al., 2009; Henshilwood et al., 2011; Hodgson, 2014; Texier et al., 2013). In a series of experimental studies, we investigate whether the development of early line patterns stretching over a period of approx. 70.000 years is an expression of an adaptive process of functional optimization for human perception and cognition, that is, whether line carvings evolve over time to become more salient, reproducible, intentionally expressive and memorizable.

The growing dynamics of hostility: massive scale coordination of content and sentiment on Twitter during the US Presidential debates

  • Riccardo Fusaroli, School of Communication and Culture
  • Seednumber: 26104
  • Collaborators: Michael Bang Petersen (Political Science), Rick Dale (Cognitive and Information Science at UC Merced), Marcus Perlman (Language and Cognition, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics)


What is the role of conflict in social coordination? We rely on a massive public event, the 2016 US presidential debates, to investigate the role of conflict and hostility on public attention, coordination and opinion. We map the online dynamics of attention and content resonance in a large dataset of tweets produced during the event and hypothesize that hostility is a catalyst for attention and discussion: more hostile conversational dynamics and contents generate more tweets, and more hostile tweets generate more online conversation and spread more widely. The project relies on stateof- the-art computational techniques and creates a collaboration between the cognitive and political sciences research environments at AU, while strengthening collaboration with UC Merced and the Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen.

The interpersonal bases of language acquisition

  • Riccardo Fusaroli, School of Communication and Culture
  • Seednumber: 26105
  • Collaborators: Morten H. Christiansen (Cornell University & IKK/IKS), Ethan Weed (IKK), Nina Gram Garmann (Høgskolen i Oslo), Kristina Nilsson Björkenstam (Stockholm University).

Project description:

Language acquisition relies on adult-child interactions. Yet it is often conceptualized as individual statistical learning from a given parental input. In this project we develop the conceptual and statistical tools to account for the interdependence between the way children speak and the way adults speak to them. We collect a corpus of naturalistic recordings of 20 Danish adult-child dyads (18-24 months), matched with analogous Norwegian, Swedish and English corpora. We develop automated tools to identify child-directed and childproduced speech. We identify reliable ways of assessing interdependence between the speech production of adults and children. This project sets the bases for a larger research program aimed at assessing the impact of adult-child interactions on language acquisition, as well as the effects of phonetic reduction – highly present in Danish - on child-directed speech and adult-child interactions.

Tolerance in Times of Terror – The Importance of Psychological Needs and Elite Framing

  • Miriam Lindner Dept. of Political Science
  • Seednumber: 26106
  • Collaborators: Michael Bang Petersen & Lasse Lindekilde 


In recent years, terrorist attacks in Western countries have reignited a debate in much of the world on the balance between civil liberties and national security. While previous research has examined the associations between terrorism, political ideology, and political attitudes in order to better understand the conditions under which citizens become willing to trade off civil liberties for a greater sense of security, the role of political elites in shaping these associations has not yet been explored. This is surprising, since people are particularly susceptible to messages given by authority figures - such as political elites – in times of heightened perceived threat, and their framing of the crisis can steer citizens in their opinions about appropriate responses. This study, then, aims to address this lacuna in extant research, and addresses the following question: to what extent can political elites exacerbate, or potentially mitigate, the detrimental effects we so often witness in the aftermath of terrorist violence? Specifically, the study focuses on the degree of partisan polarization (e.g. high degrees of party conflict over appropriate responses vs. elite consensus) and the content of disseminated cues (e.g. advocating a tolerant vs. intolerant response). A key prediction of this study is that polarized partisan framing exacerbates defensiveness on behalf of one’s ideological priors under terrorist threat, leading to increasingly divergent political attitudes between liberals and conservatives. Further, this study tests the hypotheses that non-polarized framing in favor of tolerance mitigates this effect, such that it decreases willingness to cease civil liberties and democratic freedoms; and that non-polarized framing in favor of intolerance increases willingness to cease civil liberties and democratic freedoms in aggregate.

To investigate the role of political elite cues in the aftermath of terrorism, a unique survey experiment is designed and disseminated to a nationally representative sample of 3000 U.S. citizens. In the experiment, participants are randomly assigned to a treatment condition – using a highly realistic priming technique consisting of actual breaking news coverage of recent terrorist attacks – or a control condition. Subsequently, participants read one out of 5 vignettes containing various degrees of polarized and non-polarized elite cues, and answer a number of items pertaining to a range of political attitudes (e.g. civil liberties). The hypotheses is tested that, when primed with terrorism, non-polarized elite framing in favor of tolerance decreases willingness to cease civil liberties; and that non-polarized framing in favor of intolerance has the opposite effect. In testing predictions from group-psychological accounts, the findings of this study contribute to our understanding of how the situational salience of worldview components can override ‘chronic’ worldviews, including political ideology, when they are disseminated by one’s respective ingroup. Further, this study might suggest that political elites play a large role in communicating group norms that might be particularly influential under conditions of societal threat – for better, or for worse.

Conditions for propagation of politeness markers in linguistic behavior

  • Kristian Tylén, School of Communication and Culture
  • Seednumber: 26107
  • Collaborators: Tobias Gretenkort


Drawing upon the vast and controversial literature on politeness, we offer an experimental approach to reconcile the main oppositions in courtesy research, namely universalism vs. culture specificity and the first- vs. second-order politeness distinction. Rather than discussing pros and cons of either of these approaches, we want to investigate the relationship between them. This is to say that research on politeness needs not to part from an a priori decision regarding the scope of investigation (individual vs. collective), but it needs to investigate the entanglement of the individual and the collective level, thus resulting into two main questions which are circularly intertwined: How does society constrain the individual use of polite forms, and how does individual (im)polite behaviour generalize itself into social norms? The direction of constraint has been sufficiently accounted for through empirical and historical means. As a first step in this project, we utilize an experimental paradigm, which simulates the propagation of polite forms in an artificial linguistic environment. Various experimental manipulations will be made to a virtual communication situation of requests, in order to assess how participants adjust their linguistic (polite) behavior to different conditions. We will specifically assess the impact of group-belonging and competitiveness among players and functional selectivity of polite forms (do or do they not increase positive outcome in request situations). Grounded in both classical and recent literature on verbal courtesy, we predict these parameters to result in different frequencies and linguistic micro-varieties of politeness marker usage.



How does trait mindfulness influence decision-making in a strategic context?

  • Thomas Hessellund Nielsen, PhD Fellow at The Department of Management
  • Seednumber: 26108
  • Collaborators: Martin Petri Bagger (Department of Economics and Business Economics), Panagiotis Mitkidis (Department of Management), Christine Parsons (Dept. of Clinical Medicine and IMC)


The burgeoning literature on mindfulness in organizations suggests that trait mindfulness influences decision-making in various positive ways. However, there has been little empirical work to support this claim. The relation between mindfulness, attention, and cognition leads us to believe that research in this area could yield novel insights, specifically in the area of decision making and especially related to performance. In order to advance this work, the project will focus on two working packages. 1) How does (different levels of) mindfulness affect individual decision-making when it comes to performance? 2) How does (different levels of) mindfulness affect team decision-making when it comes to performance and cooperation? The experiments are positioned in psychological research in strategic management (behavioral strategy). These are initial steps in a wider research agenda aiming to understand how mindfulness influences individual and group behavior at the strategic level.  

Human‑Computer Interactions in Virtual Reality Environments: The “Feeling‑of‑Presence” experiment

  • Konstantinos Koumaditis, Department of Business Development & Technology‑AU, ICOA
  • Seednumber: 26109
  • Collaborators: Juan Olvido Perea‑Garcıá (RA, AU), Fco. Javier Castro‑Toledo (criminologist, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Spain), Christine Parsons (physiological responses, AU), Kristian Andersen (Director, KANDA VR‑Solutions, Aarhus), Panagiotis Mitkidis (Dept. of Management, AU)


Even though we have ample evidence showing that a feeling of a presence (FoP) can have an important effect in the way people behave, the field remains unexplored. The advent and rapid spread of Virtual Reality and the growing interest in Human‑Computer interactions makes it more pressing to fill this gap and opens important avenues of research, both with commercial and clinical applications. In this study, utilising engineering, social sciences and business, we look into the relationship between cues that might trigger FoP, and how their valence is mediated by the nature of the environment in which agents appear to be.

Spatial deixis back in context: the social space of demonstrative reference in interaction

  • Roberta Rocca, PhD student, School for Communication and Culture,
  • Seednumber: 26110
  • Collaborators: Juan Olvido Perea García, Research Assistant, Interacting Minds Centre; Kristian Tylén, Associate Professor, School for Communication and Culture & Interacting Minds Centre.


Deixis is a fundamental building block of the flexible referentiality characterizing human communication: it is the basic tool to establish joint attention, which stands at the core of complex cultural phenomena.

It is usually claimed that all languages encode a basic dyadic distinction between so-called proximal and distal demonstratives, the use of either form depending uniquely on the distance between speaker and referent, being either within or outside of peripersonal space (e.g. Diessel, 1999, 2014; Coventry et al., 2008). However, recent studies have pointed at a more complex picture, with social and multimodal factors playing a fundamental role in the choice of demonstratives (Bonfiglioli et al., 2009; Peeters et al., 2015). The project aims at contributing to this line of research by investigating the role of social (presence, location and role of the interlocutor) and bodily factors (e.g. handedness, pointing hand) in demonstrative choice within an interactive setting.

The project relies on a series of experiments involving two participants. In our paradigm, images of objects will light up in a grid-like fashion on a screen laying down on a horizontal surface. Participants will be asked to refer to target objects via pointing gesture + Danish demonstratives (den her/der), either with dominant or non-dominant hand. Co-participants will have to either perform a complementary action (naming the objects) or a collaborative (noting down the pointed locations) one. Lateral and sagittal coordinates for the likelihood to use distal vs. proximal demonstratives across different regions of space will be elaborated and compared across experimental condition. This will test whether distribution of likelihood of either form in space changes as a function of the manipulated factors. Such systematic experimental investigation of the role of bodily and of social factors in spatial deixis will provide empirical grounds relevant to an embodied, socio-centric and situated account of reference in interaction.

Neural Processing of (Non-)Metaphoric Pain Language in Chronic Pain and Healthy Populations

  • Nikola Vukovic (CFIN)
  • Seednumber: 26111
  • Collaborators: Francesca Fardo (Danish Pain Research Center; IMC)


Pain is a basic and intimate human experience. Yet how do we communicate our pain to others? This is a question faced by many sufferers of chronic pain – especially in cases not explicable in terms of direct injury or tissue damage. Thus, when MRIs and X-rays fail to explain their symptoms, sufferers of chronic pain resort to language – especially metaphoric language – to communicate their experience, and obtain professional and emotional support. Very often, however, such pain language fails to adequately transmit the desired meaning, resulting in frequent complaints of communicative problems and misunderstanding between patients, families, and healthcare professionals.

The aim of our study is to investigate the neural basis of pain word comprehension – a question, the details of which still perplex modern neuroscience. Our hypothesis, derived from prior research in related domains, is that the meaning of pain words is partly represented in brain areas used to actually experience bodily pain. Moreover, the neural basis of these words may well differ between people who suffer chronic pain, and healthy individuals. To test the online interactions between linguistic and nociceptive processing in these two groups, we will employ a semantic priming paradigm combined with electrical and heat stimulation. The results of our investigation hold promise in terms of elucidating individual differences of pain neuro-semantics, as well as the development of linguistic-based therapies, and the improvement of patient-doctor communication.

Aesthetic experience – the gap between phenomenology and ex-perimental assessment

  • Katrin Heimann, School of Culure and Society, IMC
  • Seednumber: 26112
  • Collaborators: Aline Meret Mähr


When we perceive art, we do so in very specific places or settings. These settings such as museums, galleries an exhibition halls are part of the whole art-frame and have been suggested as such to have an impact on the overall aesthetic expe-rience (c.f. Heidenreich & Turano, 2011; Brieber et al., 2014, Smith & Smith, 2001; Swami, 2013). It has further been suggested that prolonged viewing times in museums opposed to laboratory environment rather effect factors linked to aesthetic appreciation than evaluative factors (Brieber et al., 2015). In a previous experiment, Mähr indeed showed that the context in which art is presented (mu-seum versus private or professional setting) does influence participants rating of an artwork’s monetary value as well as the extent of the artist’s fame (Mähr, 2016). However, in her discussion Mähr points out specific problems regarding the generalizability of these results on art perception per se. This follow up study investigates if such modulation is depending on specific conditions of the exper-imental design (viewing time and questions) and, if yes, if this is as such condi-tions elicited only a limited aesthetic experiences (= aesthetic evaluation). To do so an innovative mixed methods design is tested, combining a behavioral task with microphenomenological interviews.

The Origins of Confidence in Knowledge: What makes us confident about what we think we know about politics?

  • Seonghui Lee, Dept. of Political Science
  • Seednumber: 26113
  • Collaborators: 


What makes people confident about their knowledge? What drives people to have strong beliefs about information they have even that is incorrect? Understanding the origins of confidence in knowledge is important because confidence affects whether people translate their beliefs into behaviors. This study examines the sources of confidence in knowledge, including the amount of information, relevance of information, and cue-­‐oriented environments as the potential sources, particularly focusing on two types of information -­‐-­‐ 1) factual knowledge in politics and 2) perceptions about others’ political orientation, preference, or attitudes. This study is expected to contribute to better understanding of confidence in knowledge, an under-­‐appreciated aspect in the study of political information processing, political knowledge, and political judgment.

Ethnographic Film in Experiment

  • Katrin Heimann, School of Culture and Society
  • Seednumber: 26114
  • Collaborators: Christian Suhr


In the discipline of visual anthropology, audiovisual media and ethnographic film is ap-plied to explore, analyze, and represent parts of social reality that are difficult or impos-sible to access and communicate by linguistic means alone. For this reason, visual an-thropologists have extensively discussed how different film styles might enhance or disturb spectator’s understandings of the social realities depicted in ethnographic films. Interestingly, only few reception studies and (to our knowledge) no published experi-mental work has been dedicated to explore the numerous hypotheses among visual an-thropologists about the effects of different cinematic means of expression. This project, that developed from a class in the Master Visual Anthropology jointly taught by Chris-tian Suhr and Katrin Heimann (“Experiment in Film” Spring term 2017), aims to start filling this gap by studying two often discussed stylistic means in ethnographic film: the long take and the reversed gaze. It does so by an in itself highly interdisciplinary design combining physiological methods , microphenomenological interviews and the produc-tion of an ethnographic movie about the research process entered.

Narrative Structure, Character Identification and the Persuasion of Climate Change Skeptics

  • Brandi S. Morris, Dept. of Management
  • Seednumber: 26115
  • Collaborators: Polymeros Chrysochou


Thirty percent of Americans still skeptical about the anthropogenic nature of climate change are holding the world hostage, preventing momentum, and a long-term global commitment to action on climate change. As long as such a significant portion of the American public does not perceive the risk of climate change, the country’s commitment to global action will be fickle at best; one step forward and two steps back, depending on which political party is in power. Because the issue is more strongly associated with social identity than scientific literacy, a deeper understanding is needed of which types of public engagement narratives might counteract motivated reasoning and persuade these reticent audiences of the imminence and urgency of climate change repercussions. America has a science communication problem, not a science comprehension problem and stories might provide some hope. Through experiential processing and Narrative Transportation, communications framed as stories function as vehicles of influence through character identification, reduced counter-arguing and resistance to narrative persuasion. Research suggests that stories are effective to the degree that there is congruence between the values of story characters and story receivers. Because scientists are not generally considered to share conservative values, it is posited that they are ineffective messengers for the urgency of climate change. A series of online studies tests these hypotheses with the hope of identifying mechanisms critical to motivating attitudinal and belief change in climate change skeptics.  

The role of negative affective states in in sub-optimal decision-making

  • Alexandra Festila, Department of Management
  • Seednumber: 26116
  • Collaborators: Oana Vuculescu, Department of Management


The objective of our research is to identify how does an affective state of anxiety versus sadness shape decision via goal-activation under different levels of uncertainty and task complexity. This is an important and timely topic in light of recent calls to better understand how negative affective states (e.g., anxiety and depression) can lead to suboptimal decision-making in disadvantaged groups. Our plan is to first conduct an online experiment using Crowdsourcing platforms, followed by a lab experiment for a more controlled setting and a computer simulation study.

Time to Read

  • Mette Steenberg, School of Culture and Society & Læseforeningen
  • Seednumber: 26117
  • Collaborators: Nicolai Ladegaard, Aarhus Univerity Hospital


Does participation in Shared Reading groups improve psychological well-being and mental health in a population of vulnerable adults? We view shared reading as a social technology capable of remediating basic social and cognitive levels of functioning. We hypothesis what reading group participants will improve significantly in measures of well-being, self-insight and psychiatric symptomatology. Also, we will conduct a social return of investment (SROI) anal-ysis to evaluate impact on stakeholders.

The study will be conducted as a non-randomized controlled before-and-after study design with follow-up at 3 mo., 6 mo. and 1 yr. Duration of the reading group intervention is 10 weeks. We expect to allocate 200 participants to reading groups and a similar number to the control condition (TAU). Quantitative and qualitative data will be collected and analyzed (mixed method). Participants will fill out a battery of validated questionnaires, incl. The Ryff Scales of Psycho-logical Well-Being and Beck Cognitive Insight Scale (BCIS). Qualitative inter-views, and analysis of reading responses (engagement) will also be conducted.



The role of pluralistic ignorance in encouraging pro-environmental behaviors

  • Christos Kavvouris, Dept. of Management
  • Seednumber: 26118
  • Collaborators: Polymeros Chrysochou, Dept. of Management


Individuals have the tendency to misperceive the behavior of others and may mistakenly believe that a minority of their peers engage in a pro-environmental behavior. Revealing an opposite norm may correct this pluralistic ignorance effect. This series of studies examine consumers’ intentions towards a pro-environmental behavior, after being presented with a normative appeal about what their peers always or never do in connection to that behavior. It also focuses on how a percentage representing the majority or the minority of one’s social peers influences behavioral intentions towards the suggested behavior. We posit that when individuals believe that a minority of others engages in the behavior and are presented with the opposite norm, they will exhibit higher intentions to behave sustainably. We also posit that even though the opposite norm will evoke higher psychological reactance to the message, individuals will still exhibit higher intentions. We test these hypotheses in a series of studies each concerning a different pro-environmental behavior.

Trustful Environments

  • Dan Mønster, Dept. of Management
  • Seednumber: 26119
  • Collaborators: Lars Bach and Andreas Roepstorff, School of Culture and Society


The project investigates how trust and trustworthiness are shaped by the social environment. Specifically, we look at the development in trust and trustworthiness in a repeated trust game in an experimental setting. The use of software agents allows a certain degree of control of the social environment by predetermining the level of trust of the software agents, i.e., the higher the proportion of software agents in the total population the more we control the social environment. Hence, we can systematically vary and expose human subjects to different environments and record their behaviour in the game. The following research questions serve as the point of departure of this project. i) Can individual levels of trust be maintained by the level of trust and trustworthiness in the environment? ii) What is the role of the group history in determining the level of trust? iii) Is it harder to create trust than it is to destroy it?

The multifaceted nature of accessing identity-rich private possessions through P2P networks. Evidence from Airbnb consumption

  • Maria Festila, Dept. of Management
  • Seednumber: 26120
  • Collaborators: Sune Dueholm Müller, Dept. of Management


The affordances introduced by digital technologies are reshaping consumption practices. Individuals are now engaging in networks rather than markets, and ownership-based consumption is giving way to the previously unattractive access-based, collaborative consumption. Such consumption practices produce different relationships between objects and personal identity, on which there is limited research. In the proposed research, we aim to analyze the nature of consumer-object and consumer-consumer relationships in the context of Airbnb – a technology-mediated consumption model based on accessing (identity-rich) private possessions. Our preliminary findings suggest that the consumption experience is meaningful and self-enriching if consumers identify with the accessed consumption object. However, identification is compromised when there is a perceived mismatch, diminishing the consumption experience. Nevertheless, access-based consumption is sometimes a reflexive strategy used to signal anti-consumption ideologies. We thus propose that technology-mediated, access-based consumption is challenging the normative power of ownership in the construction of identity, changing the symbolic repertoire of the contemporary consumer.

Reputation and symbolic punishment in the Public Good and Trust games

  • Lars Bach, IMC
  • Seednumber: 26121
  • Collaborators: Malte Lau Petersen, Simon Tobias Karg, University of Aarhus; Maria Abou Chakra, University of Toronto, Canada.


Reputation systems are becoming more and more widespread in the social-media and the sharing economy and hence we need to understand the fundamental mechanisms in socio-economic systems with (and without) reputation systems. In this study we investigate the reputation systems in the public goods game and in the trust game with different levels of visibility of the reputational information. It is already suggest by recent experiments that reputation systems promote so-called prosocial behavour but little is known about which part of such system is crucial as well as the interplay between e.g. private and public information.

Humans and the Autonomous Mind

  • Darius-Aurel Frank, Dept. of Management
  • Seednumber: 26122
  • Collaborators: Polymeros Chrysochou, MAPP; Panagiotis Mitkidis, IMC


Due to recent advances in vehicle automation technologies public interest and research on the consumer’s behavior and intentions has increased. Individuals are facing the decision to rely (trust) on autonomous, intelligent machines (technologies). Previous studies have been limited in the research of trust dimension, the human machine-interaction and personal need for control (Bonnefon et al., 2016). This project will investigate why, when and how trust influences the perceived control and decision-making process for new and innovative products, with the case of the fully automated, self-driving car. The hypothesis is that the degree of autonomy will determine the individual’s level of trust which affects the beliefs, attitudes and usage intentions (as known from TAM and UTAUT). The experimental procedure will consist of an online survey where perceived control (high vs low) as well as the products autonomy over the human (degree of automation and autonomy) and perceived trust (high vs low) are manipulated. Familiarity with autonomous machine, age and gender will be among the control variables.

Collective political engagement and emotions on social media: the effect of emotional elite communication on collective political (dis)engagement and information sharing

  • Lene Aarøe, Dept. of Political Science
  • Seednumber: 26123
  • Collaborators: Riccardo Fusaroli (School of Communication and Culture), Matt Loftis (Dept. of Political Science) and Morten Brænder (Dept. of Political Science)


Trump isn’t the only politician who tweets. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook are increasingly used by political elites to communicate directly to the citizens (e.g. Baksy et al. 2015). The question we seek to address is: how does emotionally charged communications from politicians influence citizens’ disengagement and transmission of elite information in debates on social media? The conflict-ridden nature of politics means that political elites’ messages are characterized by controversy and emotionality (Dang-Xuan & Stieglitz 2012, Young and Soroka, 2012). Yet, little research has studied the relationship between emotionally charged elite communications and citizens’ political (dis)engagement (as indexed by number of likes and replies) and transmission of elite information (as indexed by sharings, re-tweets and the emotional tone of replies). This project fills in this important gap. Integrating insight from political psychology, cognitive science and communication we outline and test two competing theoretical predictions. According to the ‘push’ hypothesis, a strong negative tone in elite communications on social media pushes people away from politics (Mutz & Reeves 2005, Mutz 2005). According to the ‘pull’ hypothesis, an “incivil” negative tone will pull people in and increase people’s political engagement in social media debates and increase their inclination to share elite communications in their network (Stieglitz & Dang-Xuan 2013, Huffaker 2010). We test this developing and employing a new sentiment analysis tool for Danish on a unique dataset including +120,000 tweets and Facebook posts from Danish MEPs over a period of several years, along with information about online replies, retweets, sharings, and likes linked to each of these posts.

The interplay of new sharing technologies and traditional practices of communal resource management in the Maasai conservancies

  • Mette Løvschal
  • Seednumber: 26124
  • Collaborators: Lars Bach, School of Culture and Society; Dorthe Døjbak Håkonsson, Dept. of Business Technology; James Simiren Nampushi, Maasai Mara University Kenya.


This project will investigate the how a meeting between new technologies known from sharing economy collaborative consumption on one side and deeply rooted traditions and practices in the Maasai culture take place. In both of these there are important elements of: mobility, lack of ownership, transparency in communication and agility to changing needs. We believe that this ‘encounter’ of new meets old could help preserve the unique socio-ecological pastoralist system on the Mara area in southwestern Kenya, which depends crucially on the open unfenced grassland.