NEW PROJECTS - Two FWO and three BOF projects assigned!

Copyright: Yann Bertrand (large view)

Copyright: Yann Bertrand

(20-09-2018) In the coming months five fundamental research projects will start.

New FWO-projects

1. The social implications of Artificial Intelligence

Marijn Martens is granted a FWO PhD mandate.

Promotors are Prof. dr. Lieven De Marez, dr. Ralf De Wolf and Prof. dr. Bettina Berendt.

Starting October 2018, Marijn will work full time on his FWO-funded PhD track (2018- 2022) concerning the social implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

He will investigate the (dis)trust of people towards AI Decision Support Systems. The project will adopt a critical/ interpretative mixed method research design consisting of expert interviews, content analysis, focus groups, surveys and qualitative in-depth interviews.


2. Boundary coordination and mobile youth culture: An interpretative inquiry into the privacy management of teens in location-based social networks

Promotors of this project are Prof. dr. Lieven De Marez, dr. Ralf De Wolf and Prof. dr. Mariek Vanden Abeele.

PhD student on this project is Tom De Leyn.

The main goal of the project is to further address and understand privacy in contemporary media environments, by examining how teenagers negotiate privacy in their use of one such platform, namely location-based social networks (LBSN). LBSN are platforms in which teens share location based information with other members (e.g. Swarm). These platforms are increasingly popular in contemporary Mobile Youth Culture (MYC). Much attention has been devoted to traditional social
media (e.g. Facebook) and individual information control, less is known about how (location) privacy is negotiated in LBSN and how MYC shapes privacy practices. This project will adopt a qualitative research design in which teens are provided with a voice to reflect on their notions and experiences of privacy.

New BOF-Projects

1. Living in a digital age: What is the key to a healthy media use?

Together with her promotors Prof. dr. Koen Ponnet and Prof. dr. Lieven De Marez, Sarah Anrijs is granted a BOF PhD mandate.

The research project is called ‘Living in a digital age: What is the key to a healthy media use?’. In a first stage the project aims to identify ‘connection cues’ or triggers that make an individual to connect with his network. Although regularly connecting delivers benefits to an individual (e.g., acquiring social support) there is a public concern that people develop connection habits in a compulsive way. Therefore an individual’s smartphone use may interfere with his individual or social functioning (e.g., study focus, social conversations).
In a second stage the project aims to make youngsters between 12 and 15 years old aware of these connection cues and their own cue sensitivity. To fulfill the project aims, state of the art methods will be used, in which our research group mict is specialized, such as an in-house developed smartphone logging tool ‘Mobile DNA’ and co-creation sessions. Visitors of the Library ‘The Krook’ will actively be involved in the project.


2. Examining the Role of Peer Communication in How Commercial Content on Social Media Affects Adolescents’ Identity Formation and Consumer Socialization

Together with her promotors Prof. dr. Liselot Hudders and Prof. dr. Koen Ponnet, dr. Ini Vanwesenbeeck is granted a 3-year BOF postdoc mandate.

Adolescents (aged 12 to 18) nowadays spend a lot of time checking their social media accounts, such as Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. On these accounts, they flaunt the most positive facets of their lives and interact with their friends, acquaintances and even with strangers. These activities on social media are intertwined with commercial activities such as sponsored electronic worth-of-mouth (eWOM). Research on how these commercial communications affect adolescents is however scarce. The aim of this research project is to investigate how this type of brand-related peer communication affects identity formation and consumer socialization in social media.

First, in objective 1, we will examine whether and how brand-related peer communication influences adolescents’ identity formation based on social identity and social comparison theory.

Second, in objective 2, we will examine whether and how brand-related peer communication influences consumer socialization outcomes. The theoretical basis for this objective will be cognitive development theory and social learning theory.
Third, in objective 3, we will further investigate how adolescents can be empowered to deal with brand-related peer communication and its impact upon consumer socialization and identity formation. The output of this project will allow us to formulate specific guidelines to academic researchers and stakeholders about adolescents’ interaction with sponsored eWOM, identity formation and consumption.


3. Does the journalist matter? A multi-method study on the influence of journalists' political gender stereotypes on the representation of male and female politicians in the news.

Together with her promotors Prof. dr. Sarah Van Leuven and dr. Sara De Vuyst, Joke D'heer is granted a 4-year BOF PhD mandate.

This project contributes to the literature by shedding light on the impact of political gender stereotypes among journalists on the representation of female politicians in Flemish news media, from an intersectional perspective. To do so, the project puts forward a multi-method research design combining quantitative content analysis, reconstruction interviews and a between-subjects survey.