I joined an interdisciplinary research group concerned with the effects of personalization algorithms in 2018. Last month, our research group was awarded a $1.1 million grant from the United States Dept. of Defense to pursue research exploring how and why some people adopt extreme political and cultural views online. I will be working on the grant as the research assistant for the 2020-2021 academic school year.
The research blends interview, survey, and computational methods to map how users understand personalization and radical content, how psychological attributes makes on vulnerable to radicalization, and how algorithmic personalization may result in radicalization. My primary role as a research assistantship will be preparing and conducting the social scientific research elements of the project.
The research group currently consists of Brian Ekdale (Iowa), Rishab Nithyanand (Iowa), Tim Havens (Iowa), Raven Maragh (Gonzaga), Andy High (Penn State), John Thiede (Iowa), and Ryan Stoldt (Iowa). The group published work on how Google News creates filter bubbles before I joined, and we have since focused on questions of algorithms and race, polarization, and radicalization.