Brendan Nyhan

QSS steering committee member active in the fight against fake news

03/22/2018

QSS steering committee member and Professor of Government Brendan Nyhan has joined in a multidisciplinary call for a new field of study focused on fighting the proliferation and effect of misinformation online. In a recent interview with Dartmouth News, Professor Nyhan discussed this proposal, which came out in a March 9 article in the journal Science. 

QSS postdoctoral fellow accepts position at IE University

03/21/2018

D.J. Flynn, currently a postdoctoral fellow with the Program in Quantitative Social Science at Dartmouth College recently accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Political Science at IE University in Madrid, Spain. D.J. has spent two years at Dartmouth after completing his doctorate in political science at Northwestern University.  D.J. is currently working on several projects that examine how misinformation distorts important aspects of democratic politics, including public opinion, representation, and accountability. While at Dartmouth, he has conducted research into the psychology of misperceptions, people's responsiveness to fact-checks, and how politicians communicate with their misinformed constituents. Much of this work is joint with QSS students and affiliated faculty, including Brendan Nyhan, his postdoctoral supervisor and a professor in the Department of Government.

According to Jamie Druckman, the chair of D.J.'s dissertation committee at Northwestern, "D.J. is unique in his ability to apply cutting-edge social science methods to address problems of great contemporary importance. He was studying misinformation well before it was so fashionable to do so, and his work has already had a substantial impact on what we know about the topic. His time at Dartmouth also has played a critical role in ensuring that he will be one of the leading scholars of his generation."

At IE University, D.J. will continue his research into the effects of misinformation and will be teaching courses on public opinion, political communication, and quantitative methods.

QSS Postdoc wins Top Paper Award

03/05/2018

Jin Woo Kim, a postdoctoral fellow in the Program in Quantitative Social Science at Dartmouth College, recently won the Top Paper Award from the Political Communication Division of the International Communication Association.  This award was for the paper Switching On and Off: Rethinking Partisan Selective Exposure.  The paper’s abstract is as follows:

Despite concern that selective exposure to congenial sources drives partisans to disagree about even purely factual matters, existing empirical research finds little to mixed evidence that most Americans do seek out like-minded sources of information. In this paper, we suggest an alternative conceptualization of selective exposure; people choose when to pay attention to politics, instead of which ideological sources to follow, such that they avoid politics altogether in the times when they anticipate unpleasant information. We argue that presidential performance shapes such expectations, which would, in turn, create divergent overtime ebbs and flows in the levels of political engagement across partisan groups. Drawing on two multi-wave survey datasets, we find partisans display a lower level of political interest and media consumption during a politically disappointing period. Our findings suggest that that the stream of information that Democrats receive in the long run can be different from Republicans, even if partisans follow mostly central news sources.

Jin received his PhD in Communications in 2017 from the University of Pennsylvania, and he is working with Professor Brendan Nyhan on a series of studies that examine how debates on social media create misperceptions about the extremity and incivility of partisan outgroups and increase polarization and negative affect toward them. Jin's other projects include a study that draws on observational data to identify the effect of online rumoring and a study that examines the role of evidence strength in political persuasion.

 

Nyhan quoted on CNN.com

02/23/2018

"It's easy to feel hopeless because the fringe won't listen. And it's true--the fringe won't listen. But there are a lot more people who are vulnerable to conspiracy theories, but don't necessarily believe them," says the QSS steering committee member and professor of government Brendan Nyhan in a February 22 CNN story about conspiracy theory 'pollution.'

Using the Tools of Quantitative Social Science to Study Fake News

11/14/2017

Using new data collection technologies, QSS steering committee members Brenda Nyhan and Yusaku Horiuchi, with Dartmouth undergraduate students from Nyhan’s “Experiments in Politics” course, have been able to contribute to social science research on the prevalence and effect of fake news and fact checking. A recent Dartmouth News story, “Dartmouth Scholar Is at the Center of the Fake News Debate” highlights Professor Nyhan and his work.

2nd day in a row: QSS Steering Committee Member Featured Quote of the Day

11/07/2017

Government professor and QSS Steering committee member Brendan Nyan was quoted in the VOX daily speaking about the Trump administration "Threats to the rule of law often start with these softer kinds of actions, these norms that grow weaker." This quote comes from an article on thestar.com entitiled "Trump talks like a strongman. Good thing he’s governing like a weak man: Analysis"

QSS students and faculty investigte the believability of fake news

10/24/2017

Three papers co-authored by QSS students and steering committee members investigate individuals' likelihood to be skeptical of false news. In thier paper "Media Source, Selective Exposure, and Susceptibility to False Information," Dartmouth students Katherine Clayton, Jase Davis, and Kristen Hinckley, with Professor Yusaku Horiuchi, investigate whether citizens' are more likely to believe false information based on the source of the news piece. In "Counting the Pinocchios: The Effect of Summary Fact-Checking Data on Perceived Accuracy and Favorability of Politicians," students Alexander Agadjanian, Nikita Bakhru, Victoria Chi, Devyn Greenberg, Byrne Hollander, Alexander Hurt, Joseph Kind, Ray Lu, Annie Ma, Daniel Pham, Michael Qian, Mackinley Tan, Clara Wang, Alexander  Wasdahl, and Alexandra Woodruff, with Professor Brendan Nyhan, study the effects of summary fact-checking (assessing the accuracy of politicians over time) on the favorability rating of those politicians. And in "Real Solutions for Fake News? Measuring the Effectiveness of General Warnings and Fact-Check Banners in Reducing Belief in False Stories on Social Media," Professor Nyhan worked with students Spencer Blair, Jonathan A. Busam, Katherine Clayton, Samuel Forstner, John Glance, Guy Green, Anna Kawata, Akhila Kovvuri, Jonathan Martin, Evan Morgan, Morgan Sandhu, Rachel Sang, Rachel Scholz-Bright, Austin T. Welch, Andrew G. Wolff, and Amanda Zhou explore the effectiveness of various strategies that could be used by social media platforms to counter fake news. Professors Nyan and Horiuchi also discussed these findings in an Upshot article, "Why the Fact-Checking at Facebook Needs to Be Checked" and a Monkey Cage article "Homegrown ‘fake news’ is a bigger problem than Russian propaganda. Here’s a way to make falsehoods more costly for politicians."

QSS Faculty member is Dartmouth's "Quote of the Day"

10/09/2017

In Dartmouth's Vox Daily quote of the day for Monday October 9th, QSS Steering Committe member Brendan Nyhan asks "Can any democratic principle be called into question, or is there a bright line the public won't cross?" This quote is pulled from an October 5th article in Vox, "4 political scientists are tracking whether Trump is damaging American democracy"

QSS Faculty Show Knowledge of Puerto Ricans' Citizenship Status Effects Support for Aid

10/02/2017

In a recent article in The Upshot entitled Nearly Half of Americans Don’t Know Puerto Ricans Are Fellow Citizens, Dartmouth lecturer Kyle Dropp and QSS faculty member Brendan Nyhan show that many Americans are not aware of the fact that Puerto Ricans are American citizens. This knowledge effects whether or not individuals believe Puerto Rico should receive additional government aid in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

QSS Steering Committee Member Earns American Political Science Award

08/30/2017

QSS Steering Committee member Brendan Nyhan was awarded the American Political Science Association’s Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Emerging Scholar Award for 2017.  Professor Nyhan shared this honor with Peter K. Enns of Cornell University.  This award is presented annually to the top scholar in the field of elections and voting behavior who is within 10 years of her or his doctorate.  Professor Nyhan studies the relationship between misperceptions and behavior and how to correct incorrect information in ways that might produce different outcomes.  His work covers a wide range of topics, including conspiracy theories, public financing, media fact checking, the role of Congressional staff in policy making, campaign strategy, political persuasion, and social networks.  Professor Nyhan has published in top academic journals and writes for the New York Times Upshot blog.  Along with QSS Steering Committee member John Carey, Professor Nyhan is a cofounder of Bright Line Watch, a group of four political scientists who “monitor democratic practices and call attention to threats to American Democracy.”

Pages