Projects that explore the role of online video platforms in generating partisan "information bubbles" and address gender-based violence in India have been chosen to receive grants from the Dean for Research Innovation Fund for New Ideas in the Social Sciences.
A faculty panel chose the winning proposals based on their quality, originality and potential impact. The funds are administered by the Office of the Dean for Research under the leadership of Pablo Debenedetti, dean for research, professor in engineering and applied science, and professor of chemical and biological engineering.
The winning projects are:
Do online video personalization algorithms polarize users?
Concerns are growing that the algorithms that recommend videos on YouTube and other online video platforms can place viewers in ideological "information bubbles." With more than 1.8 billion users logging in to YouTube every month, the question of whether these platforms further polarize or even radicalize users is critically important. To find out, Dean Knox, assistant professor of politics, Andrew Guess, assistant professor of politics and public affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School, and Brandon Stewart, assistant professor of sociology, are working with colleagues at MIT, Harvard, Duke, Boston University and University of Georgia to conduct controlled experiments to explore the relationship between media consumption and opinion formation. With support from the Dean for Research Innovation Fund, the team will expand the study to examine questions such as the role of preexisting beliefs and whether exposure to diverse perspectives helps individuals moderate their opinions or produces a backlash.
Prevention of gender-based crimes in public spaces