What are you looking for?

Ulrike Hahn

Ulrike Hahn

NIAS-Lorentz Theme Group

Project title

Social Media for Digital Democracy: From simulations to behavioural data and back

Project description

The theme group’s overarching goal is the development of citizen participation and deliberation tools that foster participation and consensus. Our joint proposal breaks this task down into three components:

1) How can effective deliberation be supported when face-to-face interaction is impractical, i. e., what kinds of algorithms can successfully mediate online deliberation?

2) Research on opinion dynamics provides formal models and computational methods to design formal representations of online communication systems and to study how algorithms installed on these systems affect opinion dynamics. Designing meaningful models and calibrating their assumptions to fit the context of online social networks, however, remains an unsolved challenge

3) Experimentation connecting the efforts of 1) and 2) to empirical, behavioural data.

My individual proposal focusses on empirical component (3). It seeks to identify hallmark signature effects of both the underpinnings of algorithms and simulations of opinion dynamics in order to enable suitable empirical grounding for those endeavors. And, in a second step, it seeks to develop suitable experimental paradigms for testing directly the benefits of proposed algorithms for mediation in actual deliberative settings. Hence, the ‘problem’ addressed in my proposal is the development of a suitable (future) experimentation component, and, with that, the glue that holds different parts of the proposal together.

Selected publications

Hahn, U. (2020) Argument quality in real world argumentation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 24, 363-374.

Hahn, U., Hansen, J.U. & Olsson, E.J. (2020) Truth tracking performance of social networks: how connectivity and clustering can make groups less competent. Synthese,  197 (4), 1511-1541.

Hahn, U., von Sydow, M. & Merdes, C. (2019). How Communication Can Make Voters Choose Less Well. Topics in Cognitive Science. 11, 194-206.