What makes a good citizen?
What brings out the best in us, rather than the rest in us?
When are we willing to cooperate across social divides?
Through academic research and consulting, I help discover answers to these questions: for social science, for students, and for clients.
Cooperation is the building block of relationships – whether in wider society, in the classroom, or between a business and its customers. I use research to promote cooperation, even when achieving cooperation is quite difficult.
How do we improve online spaces where, at times, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity” (Yeats, 1919)?
My academic work seeks answers to these questions.
In the online information environment, browsing of content and social reward and punishment become inextricably linked. We can observe expressions of opinion by others – e.g. messages, likes, comments, shares. We can express our own opinions through similar means. These affordances shapes our online social identities, our search for information relevant to those identities, and our imagined use of this information in current or future social interactions. These processes in turn shape both the intensity and the complexity of our own attitudes.
I care about “normatively desirable” information processing, framed from the perspective of Strömbäck, of Young’s work on Democracy and Inclusion, and also agonistic pluralism. Guided by this interest, I investigate the roles of both individual-level factors and online affordances in shaping:
- Whether we seek out and are persuaded by information that could challenge our existing opinions.
- Whether we are good at distinguishing credible from noncredible information.
- Whether “normatively ideal” users of online spaces are willing to be politically active.
In its broadest arc, my research builds bridges between studies of media diet, online (versus face to face) discussion, and political participation.
My colleagues and I have identified key variables including identification with non partisan social groups (Westerwick, Sude, & Knobloch-Westerwick, in press), the desire to fit into a partisan group (Garrett, Sude, & Riva, 2020), and perceptions of shifts in national public opinion (e.g. Sude, Knobloch-Westerwick, Robinson, & Westerwick, 2019; Westerwick, Sude, Robinson, & Knobloch-Westerwick, 2020).
Technology informs both what information about public opinion we encounter, how we express ourselves, and how we seek information. Technology can be leveraged to promote cooperation across social divides.
“On the shoulders of giants,” I draw upon numerous frameworks, including TIME, SIDE, and the SESAM model, the social identity perspective, the motivated reasoning literature, attitude strength research, and spiral of silence theory.
My work balances a need to understand psychological process and a desire for ecological validity, such that my research designs emphasize observing selective exposure (see Knobloch-Westerwick, Westerwick, & Sude, 2020), realistic stimuli, and stimuli covering multiple political issues. I want not just to study political process, but to lay the groundwork for improving that process.
For more about the way that I apply psychology, communication, and statistics for my private sector clients, please see the Consultancy tab of this webpage. Here, suffice it to say that I work with my clients to put their ideas about their customers to the test and to design brands that have the “whole customer” in mind.
Further, I am currently working on ways to bridge the gap between my academic work and my consultancy directly. I am interested not just in studying social processes but in impacting them directly, mitigating unnecessary conflict and promoting cooperation through human-centered UX and media design.
- M.A., Ph.D., The Ohio State University, working with Dr. Knobloch-Westerwick and Dr. Garrett.
- Interdisciplinary graduate specialization in Survey Research
- In October 2020, I begin working as a Postdoctoral Fellow for Dr. Dvir-Gvirsman at Tel Aviv University!
- M.A. in the Social Sciences, University of Chicago, working with Dr. Rios
- M.A. in psychology, University of British Columbia working with Dr. Heine
- B.A. w/ honors, Dartmouth College, working with Dr. Endicott and Dr. Welsch
Statistics and Methods (Graduate-level Training)
- Statistics: Moderation and Mediation (with Dr. Andrew Hayes of PROCESS fame), Multilevel Modeling, Structural Equation Modeling (including factor analyses), Network Analysis
- Methods: Experimental design, surveys, content analysis
- Software: Various R packages, SPSS; Qualtrics, Survey Monkey
- 2019-2020 Peer Mentor Award Winner
- Peer Mentor from 2017-2019
- Reviewer for Communication Research; International Journal of Public Opinion Research; Mass Communication and Society; New Media and Society; Media Psychology; Cyberpsychology
My resume can be found here.
Me (Rightmost) and Some Wonderful Collaborators from Silvia’s SEMI-ME Lab at OSU!
Socially-Distanced Dissertation Defense
From left to right: Dr. Gerald Kosicki, Dr. Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick (Chair), Dr. Kelly Garrett, Dr. Kristi Williams (Graduate School Observer), Dr. Jason Coronel, and, as of that moment, Dr. Daniel Sude