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Prosocial Behaviors in the Digital Age

  • Pro Social Team

Impact

This team has generated over $900,000 in grants and 45 publications thus far, including 1 book. Research topics include the Social Media TestDrive project, fact-checking dynamics on Reddit, diverse participation in online education, underestimating others' willingness to help, and encouraging bystander interventions on social media.

About the Project 

The capacity of digital technologies to facilitate both anti-social and prosocial behaviors has become a pressing challenge with significant science and policy implications. How do we stem the tide of negative interactions while actively promoting positive interaction? Understanding effective mechanisms for encouraging prosocial behavior in digital spheres requires disciplinary breadth and depth. To advance Cornell’s leadership in this area, the proposed set of studies links scholars with expertise across an array of topics, disciplines, and methodologies. It permits integration of existing work among scholars while simultaneously creating opportunities for new and innovative collaboration across campus. Our team’s expertise in knowledge transfer facilitates the integration of new research insights into practice and policy on and off campus.

About the Team

Natalie Bazarova

Co-Leader

Communication

nnb8@cornell.edu

Department Office: 479 Mann Library

CCSS Office: 747 Rhodes Hall

Website

Drew Margolin

Co-Leader

Communication

dm658@cornell.edu

Department Office: 472 Mann Library

CCSS Office: 740 Rhodes Hall

Website

Vanessa Bohns

Project Member

Organizational Behavior

vkb28@cornell.edu

Department Office: 394 Ives Hall

CCSS Office: 745 Rhodes Hall

Website

René Kizilcec

Project Member

Information Science

kizilcec@standford.edu

CCSS Office: 737 Rhodes Hall

Website

Janis Whitlock

Project Member

Bronfenbrenner Center

jlw43@cornell.edu

Department Office: 202A Beebe Hall

CCSS Office: 743 Rhodes Hall

Website

    https://www.human.cornell.edu/people/jlw43
Janis Whitlock

Katherine Miller

Project Manager

Communication

km834@cornell.edu

Department Office: 491 Mann Library

Website

Our Events

    • 21

      Oct

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      Nov

    LEEDR Lab Study Participation (Make up to $25 dollars an hour)

    Make up to $25 an hour by participating in LEEDR lab studies. To participate, sign up, and go to specified research locations at…

    LEEDR Lab Study Participation (Make up to $25 dollars an hour)
    • 05

      Oct

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    • 30

      Oct

    CRC Halloween Happenings 202o Photo Contest!

    Cornell Recreation Connection's Halloween Happenings Costume Contest has been a fan favorite for many years, held annually in the…

    CRC Halloween Happenings 202o Photo Contest!
    • 23

      Oct

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    • 29

      Oct

    Carmilla

    Ithaca Premiere 2019 > UK > Directed by Emily Harris With Tobias Menzies, Jessica Raine, Hannah Rae, Devrim Lingnau &quot…

    Carmilla

Prosocial Project

  • Project Updates

    Bazarova, DiFranzo, and Whitlock, along with collaborators Amanda Purington and Yoon Choi, are currently building interactive modules for the Social Media TestDrive, an innovative online platform for digital literacy education in youth. They have partnered with Cornell PRYDE and Common Sense Education in developing, evaluating, and disseminating TestDrive modules.

    Margolin and Whitlock (BCTR) have been leading the team’s efforts to develop a new grant proposal to support a study of false information dissemination on social media, with a focus on how to find effective ways for individuals to correct false information posted online. Their approach focuses on the tension between the prosocial benefit of making information more accurate and the potentially anti-social cost of creating hostile, conflict-oriented discourse online.

    Vanessa Bohns (Organizational Behavior) and René Kizilicec (Information Science) have been working to determine best directions for the review paper focusing on prosocial behaviors and empathy. Two research questions have been posed: 1) What factors influence whether people respond to a moral violation with empathy for the person who has been harmed vs. moral outrage at the person who has done the harming? 2) Do people underestimate the efficacy of empathic expressions?

    DiFranzo, Bazarova, and Miller are working together to coordinate a workshop for the Truman platform, which is an open source, complete social media simulation platform for experimental research that is freely available for researchers. Additionally, DiFranzo and Bazarova, with Philipp Masur, a visiting scholar from Germany, are in the process of completing a three-phase study of social norms and digital literacy on privacy and disclosure in social media.

  • Funding

    In 2018, Margolin (Communication) was awarded a grant for the “Social Connections to Local Food Producers Using Immersive and Non-Immersive Video” project, in the amount of $151,145. Bazarova and Whitlock were awarded $500,000 for the “Leveraging Social Media TestDrive and Digital Citizenship Curriculum for Kids and Schools” from the James and Rebecca Morgan Fund to support a partnership with Common Sense Media. Bohns was awarded $250,855 as a Co-Principal Investigator for “Psychological Assessment of Voluntary Consent” with PI Roseanna Sommers. Additionally, in 2019, Bohns was awarded the Op-Ed Training Grant for Society for Personality and Social Psychology.

  • Key Publications: Vanessa Bohns

    Vanessa Bohns, et al.
    Power and Perceived Influence: I Caused Your Behavior, But I’m Not Responsible for It
    Social and Personality Psychology Compass

    Roseanna Sommers and Vanessa Bohns
    The Voluntariness of Voluntary Consent: Consent Searches and the Psychology of Compliance
    Yale Law Journal

  • Key Publications: Natalie Bazarova

    Dominic DiFranzo, Natalie Bazarova, et al.
    Behavioral Contagion in Social Media: Effects of Social Norms, Design Interventions, and Critical Media Literacy on Self-Disclosure
    70th Annual International Communication Association Conference, Gold Coast, Australia
    Top Paper for Communication and Technology Division

    Dominic DiFranzo, Natalie Bazarova, et al.
    Upstanding by Design: Bystander Intervention in Cyberbullying
    Proceedings of the 2018 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

  • Key Publications: Natalie Bazarova, Janis Whitlock, et al.

    Natalie Bazarova, Janis Whitlock, et al.
    Cyberbullying Bystander Intervention: The Number of Offenders and Retweeting Predict Likelihood of Helping a Cyberbullying Victim
    Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

    Natalie Bazarova, Janis Whitlock, et al.
    The Voluntariness of Voluntary Consent: Consent Searches and the Psychology of Compliance
    Yale Law Journal

    Dominic DiFranzo, Janis Whitlock, Natalie Bazarova, et al.
    Social Media Education for the Next Generation
    Proceedings of the 2019 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

  • Key Publications: Drew Margolin

    The Theory of Informative Fictions: A Character-Based Approach to False News and Other Misinformation
    Communication Theory

    Drew Margolin, et al.
    An Exploration of Fact-Checking in Political Discussions on Reddit
    Presented at 69th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association

  • Key Publications: Drew Margolin and Natalie Bazarova

    Drew Margolin, Natalie Bazarova, et al.
    Sharing Fake News on Social Media: Understanding the Relationship Between Believe and Share
    Presented at the 69th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association