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Emotional Contagion (EmotiCon): Predicting and preventing the spread of misinformation, stigma, and anxiety during a pandemic


Description:

The EmotiCon project has four interrelated work packages (WPs). WP1 organizes and administrates the grant and disseminates the project's findings. WP2 and WP3 involve the development and execution of social media analysis and an online survey of a representative Norwegian sample, respectively. WP4 will construct a multi-agent artificial intelligence model for analyzing and forecasting the spread of anxiety, stigma and misinformation in social media and offline networks in the wake of COVID-19. That computational model and its simulation experiments will be informed by the data from WP2 and WP3. All WPs will involve the close collaboration between the core research team at NORCE, their international advisory collaborators, and ten municipalities in Norway that have already agreed to participate in a user reference group (these municipalities represent about 30% of the Norwegian population). The Emoticon project will provide new computational tools for assessing and altering the dynamics of emotional and behavioral contagion during public health crises. Our team has already published computational models with the ability to simulate the effect of disease contagion threats on the attitudes and behaviors of human populations. Simulated agents have cognitive architectures and weighted social network ties that affect beliefs and behaviors based on social psychological theories such as 'terror management theory.' They have been empirically validated in relation to real world data. We will adapt these models to simulate the social contagion effects of disease contagion threats under a wide variety of parameters, including those of poorer countries. This will provide stakeholders with an empirically validated 'artificial society' that can serve as a simulation platform within which they can experiment with intervention strategies designed to mitigate the spread of anxiety, stigma, and misinformation during the COVID-19 crisis and future pandemics.


Project leader: F. LeRon Shults

Started: 2020

Ends: 2021

Category: Nasjonale samfunnsvitenskapelige institutter

Sector: Instituttsektor

Budget: 3121000

Institution: NORCE NORWEGIAN RESEARCH CENTRE AS AVD KRISTIANSAND UNIVERSITETSVEIEN

Address: Kristiansand