May 27, 2021 DICINT presenting at the (virtual) ICA conference 2021

We are more than thrilled to contribute to this year's ICA convention. Due to the pandemic, this conference will be held virtually. Our three presentations that were accepted after a peer review process focus on (1) the impact of the exposure to congruent opinions and political social identities on political polarization, (2) the role of populism and conspiracy theories in online network homogenization, and (3) the investigation of ambivalent opinion leaders with an agent-based model.

For more information, please visit the following presentations:

Cargnino, M. (2021). “They’re Up to No Good”: How Populist Attitudes and the Belief in Conspiracy Theories Relate to the Likelihood of Being Exposed to Like-Mindedness on Social Networking Sites

Cargnino, M., & Neubaum, G. (2021). A Question of Dose? Effects of the Political Congruence of Social Media Opinion Climates on Selective Exposure, Attitudinal Polarization and Political Tolerance.

Röchert, D., Cargnino, M., & Neubaum, G. (2021). When the Leader takes it all: An Agent-Based Model on the Effects of Ambivalent Opinion Leaders.

More information about the ICA conference

January 07, 2021 Study on links between network homogeneity, populist attitudes and the belief in conspiracies

Are people with populist attitudes more inclined to engage in online networks with content that reinforces their existing opinions? What role does the willingness to believe in conspiracy theories play in this? Observing the current developments in the USA, where apparently parts of society have "cut themselves off" from established institutions and have committed themselves to the belief in conspiracy theories (e.g. "QAnon" and "election fraud"), answering such questions seems more tangible than ever.
Manuel Cargnino’s recent article "The Interplay of Online Network Homogeneity, Populist Attitudes, and Conspiratorial Beliefs: Empirical Evidence From a Survey on German Facebook Users,” published in the "International Journal of Public Opinion Research", addresses connections between the perception of a homogeneous information landscape in one's own Facebook network, populist attitudes and the belief in conspiracy theories.

The publication can be found here.

A pre-print version of the article can be downloaded free of charge from SocArXiv.

January 04, 2021 Article on political disagreements in social media published in the International Journal of Communication

The International Journal of Communication published our article "How Facebook Users Experience Political Disagreements and Make Decisions About the Political Homogenization of Their Online Network" (authors: German Neubaum, Manuel Cargnino & Jeanette Maleszka). With this qualitative study, we investigated the variety of (internal and external) responses people can show when they encounter political disagreements with someone from their online network. A potential response can be dissolving the digital relationship (e.g., "unfriending"). We analyzed the complex psychological processes at work before social media users make the drastic decision to break their network ties.

The article is freely available here.

August 18, 2020 New publication on politically motivated tie building in social media

Manuel Cargnino und German Neubaum just published a preregistered study on politically motivated tie building on the social networking platform Facebook. Results suggest that politics (in the sense of being politically congruent with others) do not play a pivotal role when befriending other people on social media platforms.

More information

Read here the full publication

July 24, 2020 New Proceeding on Homogeneity in YouTube recommendations

Daniel Röchert, Muriel Weitzel and Björn Ross published a proceeding on "The homogeneity of right-wing populist and radical content in YouTube recommendations" at the Social Media & Society conference. The study examined the YouTube recommendation network on right-wing populist and politically neutral videos to identify the homogeneity of video recommendations.

One of the findings show that 54% of users who watch right-wing populist videos are likely to be suggested right-wing populist videos.

Read here the proceeding

May 16, 2019 New Research Report on Homogeneity Online: One in four users estimate their online network as politically similar to themselves

Manuel Cargnino and German Neubaum published a research report on homogeneity in social media. This study asked users of social networking platforms, to what extent they perceive their online and offline network ties to be similar to themselves. Results show that one in four users estimate their online network to be similar to themselves in terms of political opinions and ideologies.

From users' perspective, this study informs current public debates on online echo chambers and the extent to which individuals are exposed to like-mindedness in online networks.

Read all the results: Research Report

April 23, 2019 Talk by Dr. Brian Weeks on April, 29th

We are happy to announce that Dr. Brian Weeks (University of Michigan) is visiting our Department from April 23rd to May 02nd. He is an expert in the field of computer-mediated political communication with a focus on false and deceptive information/political misperceptions and incidental exposure to news in social media. On April 29th 2019, 2pm (room: LE 222), Brian will be giving a talk about his research on the topic "The Emotional Characteristics of Social Media and Political Misperceptions." We cordially invite all interested to this talk!

February 11, 2019 New study: The influence of social bots on opinion climates

Recently, the public has been discussing the potential influence of social bots on the political climate online. To date, the effects were difficult to detect. To investigate the potential influence of bots, DICINT collaborated with the research group Professional Communication in Electronic Media / Social Media and the research training group "User-Centred Social Media." Based on a virtual simulation, we calculated how the presence of opinionated bots can shape the opinion climate in the long run. Results have now been published at the European Journal of Information Systems (EJIS) and show that it could take a little amount of bots to shift the opinion trend in the direction promoted by them. How and why can be read here:

Article at EJIS

Blog entry

January 21, 2019 DICINT at ICA 2019 in Washington, D.C.

The junior research group looks forward to participating at this year's conference of the International Communication Association. The following four full papers have been accepted for presentation:

Cargnino, M., Neubaum, G., & Winter, S.: Opinion Congruence as a Motive of Friending in Social Networking Sites.

Neubaum, G.: „It’s Going to be Out There For a Long Time“: The Influence of Message Persistence on Users’ Political Opinion Expression via Social Media Technologies.

Neubaum, G., Sobieraj, S., Rausch, J., & Riese, J.: Digital Destigmatization: How Exposure to Networking Profiles Can Reduce Social Stereotypes.

Röchert, D., Neubaum, G., Ross, B., Brachten, F., & Stieglitz, S.: Can You Hear the Echo? Combining Sentiment and Social Network Analyses to Measure Opinion-Based Homogeneity in Social Media.

More information about the ICA conference

October 04, 2018 Research visit at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA


Funded by the program Global Young Faculty, German Neubaum visited the Department of Communication Studies and the School of Information at the University of Michigan in September and October 2018. During his visit, German Neubaum presented the on-going research and the agenda of the junior research group DICINT. Moreover, this research visit was part of the collaboration with Dr. Brian Weeks, an expert in the field of political communication, and enabled the planning of joint theoretical and empirical works.

more information about the Department of Communication Studies

September 26, 2018 Talk at the data2day

This week, DICINT, represented by Daniel Röchert, attended the conference data2day for big data, machine learning, and data science in Heidelberg and gave a presentation on "Identification of opinion-based homogeneity and heterogeneity in online networks (YouTube)." With this talk, Daniel Röchert gave an overview of the methodological combination the junior research group is currently using to assess opinion homogeneity in online networks.


May 17, 2018 DICINT goes ICA 2018

Our junior research group will be visiting the annual conference of the International Communication Association 2018 in Prague. DICINT is going to present two collaboration studies on political opinion formation online. The following two studies represent joint work with Shira Dvir-Gvirsman (Tel Aviv University, Israel) and Stephan Winter (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands):

Neubaum, G., Winter, S., & Dvir-Gvirsman, S. (2018, May). You’re a bad person! When moral violations lead to unfriending behavior on social media.

Dvir-Gvirsman, S., Winter, S., & Neubaum, G. (2018, May). The public in our minds – Comparing the importance of in-group opinion climates in the US, Israel and Germany.

April 13, 2018 DICINT starts blogging

Starting in April 2018, the DICINT junior research group will be blogging about opinion homogeneity on the Internet. Our aim is to elaborate on public debates and technological developments against the backdrop of the current scientific state of knowledge in the intersection of computer science, media psychology and (political) communication research. Please enjoy reading our first blog series "Addressing Myths on Echo Chambers and Filter Bubbles in Online Networks".

Visit our blog following this link:

April 10, 2018 Presentation at the workshop "Selective Information Processing during Digital Media Use" in Tübingen, Germany

On April 10 & 11, 2018, the postdoc network Cognitive Conflicts During Media Use at the Leibniz Institute for Knowledge Media Research in Tübingen organizes a workshop on the newly emerging challenges in cognitive media research. The junior research group DICINT will give the talk "The echo in my online chamber: The formation of opinion homogeneity in online networks" and present their on-going research.

Visit the postdoc network's website

January 02, 2018 Launch of DICINT!

With beginning of 2018 the junior research group "Digital Citizenship in Network Technologies" started its work. Two researchers/Ph.D. students and a student assistant are going to join the group in the upcoming weeks.

Dicint Right