Project Information

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
3584 CS UTRECHT
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

Project Information

Project Title
"Social Regulation in a Digital Society"

Institute
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen - Faculteit Gedrags- & Maatschappijwetenschappen

PhD Student
Carla Roos

Supervisor(s)
Tom Postmes
Namkje Koudenburg

Period
1 September 2017 - 31 August 2021

Funding
Nvt


Summary

Exchanges on social media are often unpleasant: the tone is coarse, positions are polarized and extreme. Within a digitizing society, this can have far-reaching consequences for social relations and norms. We aim to better understand why processes of online regulation break down and how social regulation can be fostered within online communities. The proposed research examines the micro-dynamics of online social interaction. The reason for doing so is that recent research sheds a new light on how, in real-life (offline) social interactions, social regulation takes place. This research has found that in offline social interactions, people use very few overt (i.e., explicit) signals of disapproval when norms are violated. Instead, a frequent and effective response to a norm violation is a brief interruption of the flow of the conversation. This discovery leads us to the central question of this research: How is social regulation achieved online, where interaction is not fluent to begin with and where conversational flow is much less of a factor?


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