5.2 La Ciberpsicologia (Cyberpsychology)

La «ciberpsicologia» (cyberpsychology), una nuova area della psicologia che ha come sfondo teorico la psicologia cognitiva e della comunicazione, la psicologia sociale e l’ergonomia e come obiettivo l’analisi dei processi di cambiamento attivati dai nuovi media, inclusi i social media.  

Science: Exposure to ideologically diverse news and opinion on Facebook
Exposure to news, opinion, and civic information increasingly occurs through social media. How do these online networks influence exposure to perspectives that cut across ideological lines? Using deidentified data, we examined how 10.1 million U.S. Facebook users interact with socially shared news. We directly measured ideological homophily in friend networks and examined the extent to which heterogeneous friends could potentially expose individuals to cross-cutting content. We then quantified the extent to which individuals encounter comparatively more or less diverse content while interacting via Facebook’s algorithmically ranked News Feed and further studied users’ choices to click through to ideologically discordant content. Compared with algorithmic ranking, individuals’ choices played a stronger role in limiting exposure to cross-cutting content.

Nature: How Facebook, fake news and friends are warping your memory
Although history has frequently been interpreted for political ends, psychologists are now investigating the fundamental processes by which collective memories form, to understand what makes them vulnerable to distortion. They show that social networks powerfully shape memory, and that people need little prompting to conform to a majority recollection — even if it is wrong. Not all the findings are gloomy, however. Research is pointing to ways of dislodging false memories or preventing them from forming in the first place.

Public Opinion QuarterlyFilter Bubbles, Echo Chambers, and Online News Consumption
Online publishing, social networks, and web search have dramatically lowered the costs of producing, distributing, and discovering news articles. Some scholars argue that such technological changes increase exposure to diverse perspectives, while others worry that they increase ideological segregation. We address the issue by examining web-browsing histories for 50,000 US-located users who regularly read online news. We find that social networks and search engines are associated with an increase in the mean ideological distance between individuals. However, somewhat counterintuitively, these same channels also are associated with an increase in an individual’s exposure to material from his or her less preferred side of the political spectrum. Finally, the vast majority of online news consumption is accounted for by individuals simply visiting the home pages of their favorite, typically mainstream, news outlets, tempering the consequences—both positive and negative—of recent technological changes. We thus uncover evidence for both sides of the debate, while also finding that the magnitude of the effects is relatively modest.

Digital Journalism: Defining Fake News: A typology of scholarly definitions
This paper is based on a review of how previous studies have defined and operationalized the term “fake news.” An examination of 34 academic articles that used the term “fake news” between 2003 and 2017 resulted in a typology of types of fake news: news satire, news parody, fabrication, manipulation, advertising, and propaganda. These definitions are based on two dimensions: levels of facticity and deception. Such a typology is offered to clarify what we mean by fake news and to guide future studies.

PNAS: Private traits and attributes are predictable from digital records of human behavior
We show that easily accessible digital records of behavior, Facebook Likes, can be used to automatically and accurately predict a range of highly sensitive personal attributes including: sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious and political views, personality traits, intelligence, happiness, use of addictive substances, parental separation, age, and gender. The analysis presented is based on a dataset of over 58,000 volunteers who provided their Facebook Likes, detailed demographic profiles, and the results of several psychometric tests. The proposed model uses dimensionality reduction for preprocessing the Likes data, which are then entered into logistic/linear regression to predict individual psychodemographic profiles from Likes. The model correctly discriminates between homosexual and heterosexual men in 88% of cases, African Americans and Caucasian Americans in 95% of cases, and between Democrat and Republican in 85% of cases. For the personality trait “Openness,” prediction accuracy is close to the test–retest accuracy of a standard personality test. We give examples of associations between attributes and Likes and discuss implications for online personalization and privacy.

PNAS: Computer-based personality judgments are more accurate than those made by humans
This study compares the accuracy of personality judgment—a ubiquitous and important social-cognitive activity—between computer models and humans. Using several criteria, we show that computers’ judgments of people’s personalities based on their digital footprints are more accurate and valid than judgments made by their close others or acquaintances (friends, family, spouse, colleagues, etc.). Our findings highlight that people’s personalities can be predicted automatically and without involving human social-cognitive skills.

Neuropsychologia: Exploring the neural substrates of misinformation processing
It is well known that information that is initially thought to be correct but then revealed to be false, often continues to influence human judgement and decision making despite people being aware of the retraction. Yet little research has examined the underlying neural substrates of this phenomenon, which is known as the ‘continued influence effect of misinformation’ (CIEM). It remains unclear how the human brain processes critical information that retracts prior claims. To address this question in further detail, 26 healthy adults underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging(fMRI) while listening to brief narratives which either involved a retraction of prior information or not. Following each narrative, subjects’ comprehension of the narrative, including their inclination to rely on retracted information, was probed. As expected, it was found that retracted information continued to affect participants’ narrative-related reasoning. In addition, the fMRI data indicated that the continued influence of retracted information may be due to a breakdown of narrative-level integration and coherence-building mechanisms implemented by the precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus.

Digital Journalism: Fake News and The Economy of Emotions: Problems, causes, solutions
This paper examines the 2016 US presidential election campaign to identify problems with, causes of and solutions to the contemporary fake news phenomenon. To achieve this, we employ textual analysis and feedback from engagement, meetings and panels with technologists, journalists, editors, non-profits, public relations firms, analytics firms and academics during the globally leading technology conference, South-by-South West, in March 2017. We further argue that what is most significant about the contemporary fake news furore is what it portends: the use of personally and emotionally targeted news produced by algo-journalism and what we term “empathic media”. In assessing solutions to this democratically problematic situation, we recommend that greater attention is paid to the role of digital advertising in causing, and combating, both the contemporary fake news phenomenon, and the near-horizon variant of empathically optimised automated fake news.

Cognition: A referential theory of the repetition-induced truth effect
People are more likely to judge repeated statements as true compared to new statements, a phenomenon known as the illusory truth effect. The currently dominant explanation is an increase in processing fluency caused by prior presentation. We present a new theory to explain this effect. We assume that people judge truth based on coherent references for statements in memory. Due to prior presentation, repeated statements have more coherently linked references; thus, a repetition-induced truth effect follows. Five experiments test this theory. Experiment 1–3 show that both the amount and the coherence of references for a repeated statement influence judged truth. Experiment 4 shows that people also judge new statements more likely “true” when they share references with previously presented statements. Experiment 5 realizes theoretically predicted conditions under which repetition should not influence judged truth. Based on these data, we discuss how the theory relates to other explanations of repetition-induced truth and how it may integrate other truth-related phenomena and belief biases.

Intelligence: ‘Fake news’: Incorrect, but hard to correct. The role of cognitive ability on the impact of false information on social impressions
The present experiment (N = 390) examined how people adjust their judgment after they learn that crucial information on which their initial evaluation was based is incorrect. In line with our expectations, the results showed that people generally do adjust their attitudes, but the degree to which they correct their assessment depends on their cognitive ability. In particular, individuals with lower levels of cognitive ability adjusted their attitudes to a lesser extent than individuals with higher levels of cognitive ability. Moreover, for those with lower levels of cognitive ability, even after the explicit disconfirmation of the false information, adjusted attitudes remained biased and significantly different from the attitudes of the control group who was never exposed to the incorrect information. In contrast, the adjusted attitudes of those with higher levels of cognitive ability were similar to those of the control group. Controlling for need for closure and right-wing authoritarianism did not influence the relationship between cognitive ability and attitude adjustment. The present results indicate that, even in optimal circumstances, the initial influence of incorrect information cannot simply be undone by pointing out that this information was incorrect, especially in people with relatively lower cognitive ability.

Intelligence: Working memory capacity, short-term memory capacity, and the continued influence effect: A latent-variable analysis
Misinformation often affects inferences and judgments even after it has been retracted and discredited. This is known as the continued influence effect. Memory processes have been theorized to contribute to the continued influence effect, and much previous research has focussed on the role of long-term memory processes at the time misinformation is retrieved during inferential reasoning and judgments. Recently, however, experimental research has focussed upon the role of working memory (WM) processes engaged in the updating and integration of information, when the retraction is encoded. From an individual differences perspective, susceptibility to continued influence effects should be predicted by a person's WM abilities, if continued reliance on misinformation is influenced, at least in part, by insufficient integration of the initial misinformation and its subsequent retraction. Consequently, we hypothesized that WM capacity would predict susceptibility to continued influence effects uniquely and more substantially than short-term memory (STM) capacity. Participants (N = 216) completed a continued-influence task, as well as a battery of WM and STM capacity tasks. Based on a latent variable model, our hypothesis was supported (WM capacity: β = −0.36, p = .013; STM capacity: β = 0.22, p = .187). Consequently, we suggest that low WM capacity is a measurable “risk factor” for continued reliance on misinformation.

Computers in Human Behaviors
: Collective attention in the age of (mis)information

In this work we study, on a sample of 2.3 million individuals, how Facebook users consumed different information at the edge of political discussion and news during the last Italian electoral competition. Pages are categorized, according to their topics and the communities of interests they pertain to, in (a) alternative information sources (diffusing topics that are neglected by science and main stream media); (b) online political activism; and (c) main stream media. We show that attention patterns are similar despite the different qualitative nature of the information, meaning that unsubstantiated claims (mainly conspiracy theories) reverberate for as long as other information. Finally, we classify users according to their interaction patterns among the different topics and measure how they responded to the injection of 2788 false information. Our analysis reveals that users which are prominently interacting with conspiracists information sources are more prone to interact with intentional false claims.

Computers in Human BehaviorsThird person effects of fake news: Fake news regulation and media literacy interventions
Although the actual effect of fake news online on voters’ decisions is still unknown, concerns over the perceived effect of fake news online have prevailed in the US and other countries. Based on an analysis of survey responses from national samples (n = 1299) in the US, we found a strong tendency of the third-person perception. That is, individuals believed that fake news would have greater effects on out-group members than themselves or in-group members. Additionally, we proposed a theoretical path model, identifying the antecedents and consequences of the third-person perception. The results showed that partisan identity, social undesirability of content, and external political efficacy were positive predictors of the third-person perception. Interestingly, our findings revealed that third-person perception led to different ways of combating fake news online. Those with a greater level of third-person perception were more likely to support the media literacy approach but less likely to support the media regulation approach.

De Gruyter: The Psychology of Social Networking Vol.1 - Personal Experience in Online Communities
This book explores current debates in Cyberpsychology, drawing on the most up-to-date theories and research to explore four main aspects of the social media experience (communication, identity, presence and relationships). In doing so, it considers the interplay of different areas of psychological research with current technological and security insight into how individuals create, manipulate and maintain their online identity and relationships. The social media are therefore at the core of every chapter, with the common thread throughout being the very unique approach to considering diverse and varied online behaviours that may not have been thus far considered from this perspective. It covers a broad range of both positive and negative behaviours that have now become integrated into the daily lives of many westernised country’s Internet users, giving it an appeal to both scholarly and industry readers alike.

De Gruyter: The Psychology of Social Networking Vol.2 - Identity and Relationships in Online Communities
Using a novel approach to consider the available literature and research, this book focuses on the psychology of social media based on the assumption that the experience of being in a social media has an impact on both our identity and social relationships. In order to ‘be online’, an individual has to create an online presence – they have to share information about themselves online. This online self is presented in different ways, with diverse goals and aims in order to engage in different social media activities and to achieve desired outcomes. Whilst this may not be a real physical presence, that physicality is becoming increasingly replicated through photos, video, and ever-evolving ways of defining and describing the self online. Moreover, individuals are using both PC-based and mobile-based social media as well as increasingly making use of photo and video editing tools to carefully craft and manipulate their online self.

  • Libri in italiano sulla ciberpsicologia: 
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