My research spans three related areas of inquiry in the context of large-scale traumatic events – 1) using big data to study temporal dynamics of emotion expression in social media posts before, during, and after collective traumatic events, 2) characterizing misinformation transmission on social media and understanding the psychological consequences of exposure to it, and 3) examining the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral correlates of news media exposure during collective traumas.
My work bridges big data analytics with cross-sectional and sophisticated longitudinal survey methodologies to answer pressing questions about how the information platforms we engage with (traditional and new media) are implicated in our psychological well-being, our perceptions about current events, and our behavioral responses to such events.
Much of my work involves using big social media data to infer psychological states about social media users in the context of collective traumas (e.g., mass shootings) by employing dictionary approaches and natural language processing coupled with non-linear regression modeling techniques. My approach allows me to characterize patterns of emotion expression over time, before, during, and after such events. I employ thoughtful quasi-experimental designs and a novel methodological approach for sourcing Twitter data to explicate the value of using big data methods to study emotional impacts of exposure to collective traumas. Recently, I supervised a study which asked specific questions about the lasting positive emotional and social effects of exposure to the 2017 total solar eclipse across the United States.
2022 - The social effects of an awesome solar eclipse. Psychological Science (in press).
My work also examines misinformation transmission on social media (and the Internet) in various contexts. In particular, I am interested in the temporal dynamics of misinformation transmission during false alarm events as well as the psychological impact of exposure to misinformation. I have also become interested in the prevalence and effects of exposure to medical misinformation.
I continue to evaluate how the news media is implicated in the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses people have to collective traumas. I rely on national longitudinal surveys to ascertain the ways in which the content purveyed on news media channels (including social media platforms) fuels psychological distress over time, informs individuals' perceptions of threat, and potentially influences their behavioral responses to threatening contexts (recently, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic).
2022 - Information-channel repertoires and their emotional, cognitive, and behavioral correlates in the context of a pandemic. Under review.