Recent Bulletins

QSS postdoctoral fellow accepts position at IE University
Posted on: 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.

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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.

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QSS Postdoc wins Top Paper Award
Posted on: 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:

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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.


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Nyhan quoted on
Posted on: 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.'

QSS student published in New York Magazine
Posted on: 02/05/2018

Alexander Agadjanian '18, who is pursuing a major in the Program in Quantitative Social Science, recently published an article, Democrats Are Changing Their Minds About Race, and the Youth Are Leading the Way in New York Magazine.  The article is an analysis of the role of racial justice in contemporary American politics and, more broadly, the racial climate in the United States. Alexander and his co-author, Sean McElwee, write that, "Young Democrats who were initially wooed by the idea of a post-racial America have likely been strongly influenced by backlash to Donald Trump’s race-related rhetoric and the rise of movements like Black Lives Matter and the Dreamers within the past decade."

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Every QSS major at Dartmouth must write an honors thesis during his or her fourth year on campus. Alexander's thesis project, which studies how partisans react to policy information, is being supervised by Professor of Government Dean Lacy.  All honors thesis writers are guided by QSS Director of Undergraduate Research Sean Westwood.  In his New York Magazine article, Alexander demonstrates his skills with the R computing environment, which all QSS students learn as part of their studies.  Alexander has taken many R-based classes, including Data Visualization, taught by Mitsui Professor of Japanese Studies and Professor of Government Yusaku Horiuchi. Alexander has written a research paper with Professor Horiuchi, which was presented at a conference held at the University of California, Berkeley in August last year.

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Quote of the Day - Daniel Rockmore
Posted on: 01/18/2018

"I think it's important to introduce kids to the world of ideas early,"

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says QSS Steering committee member, Associate Dean for the Sciences, and the William H. Neukom 1964 Distinguished Professor of Computational Science. In Kids n’ Code - Version 2.0, a Huffpost article in which Professor Rockmore discusses his work with local elementary school children in Hanover, NH, and how he teaches them about algorithms.

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Yusaku Horiuchi - Dartmouth Quote of the Week
Posted on: 01/18/2018

“Our study suggests that weather conditions may affect people’s decisions on not only whether to vote but also who they vote for.” QSS Steering Committee member Yusaku Horiuchi, referencing his study of the effect of weather on voting behavior. The quote comes from an Irish News Magazine article, Study shows potential Democrat voters are more likely to switch allegiance if it rains.

Fall 2017 Data Visualization Contest
Posted on: 01/08/2018

Each term as part of his Data Visualization course, Professor Yusaku Horiuchi organizes a contest for his students in which the the top six visualizations are chosen by student vote. The fall 2017 winners can be viewed here.

QSS Postdoc accepts position at Texas A&M
Posted on: 01/02/2018

Erik Peterson, currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Program in Quantitative Social Science, recently accepted an offer to become Assistant Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University. After undergraduate education at Northwestern University, where Erik wrote a thesis under the supervision of Professor Jamie Druckman, Erik received his doctorate in political science from Stanford University.  He has been at Dartmouth since the fall of 2017.

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Among other things, Erik is working on projects that seek to identify the effects of cuts in newsroom reporting on democracy.  Erik is also conducting research with Assistant Professor of Government, and QSS Director of Undergraduate Research, Sean Westwood on projects designed to identity the origins of affective polarization.

According to Professor Westwood, "Erik exemplifies the kind of scholar we are trying to foster within QSS: a social scientist who uses cutting-edge methods to explore major questions."

William Clark, Head of the Department of Political Science at Texas A&M, described Erik as "energetic, well-trained, and extremely prolific."  He suggested that Erik "will play an important role in our recently created research program in Political Behavior and Political Institutions and should also have lots of opportunities to collaborate with scholars in Psychology, Communication Studies, and Behavioral Economics."

QSS congratulates Erik on his new faculty position!  Erik will be starting at A&M in the summer of 2018 and until that time will be working on his research at Dartmouth.

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Using the Tools of Quantitative Social Science to Study Fake News
Posted on: 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.

QSS DUR harnesses machine learning to analyze complex experimental designs
Posted on: 11/14/2017

Assistant Professor of Government Sean Westwood and coauthors recently released a new statistical method that harnesses machine learning to analyze complex experimental designs.  Their method was published in Political Analysis, the top methodology journal in political science.  With his colleagues, Westwood, the Director of Undergraduate Research in the Program in Quantitative Social Science, showed that it is possible to utilize a super-learner to estimate the effects of heterogenous treatments on respondents' attitudes.  Their method also allows for the analysis of heterogeneous responses to treatments.