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Unconscious Influence: How Social Media Interactions Lead to Accidental Inferences About the Self and Others

Joseph Walther of UC Santa Barbara, in a Gerald P. Mohrmann Memorial Lecture, will discuss how social media leads to misattributions—mistaken judgments about who people are and why they act as they do.

Apr 20, 2018
from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM

International Center, Room 1310, Multipurpose Room

People often use social media and participatory websites to get recommendations or to try to influence others, well aware of who influences whom and how. But research also shows that people are influenced in ways they’re not aware of, in terms of how they judge others and misjudge how much others like them. Sometimes the source of these influences are subtle cues aggregated by computer systems, while at other times, people’s own actions becomes the source of their misperceptions. This presentation discusses how social media leads to misattributions—mistaken judgments about who people are and why they act as they do. 

Joseph Walther is a distinguished professor in communication, the Mark and Susan Bertelsen Presidential Chair in Technology and Society, and the director of the Center for Information Technology and Society at UC Santa Barbara. His teaching and research focus on computer-mediated communication and social media in personal relationships, groups, educational settings, and inter-ethnic conflict, topics on which he has contributed several original theories and numerous experiments and surveys.

Prior to joining UC Santa Barbara, Professor Walther was the Wee Kim Wee Professor in Communication Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; and previously at Michigan State University, Cornell, RPI, and Northwestern. He is a fellow at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), where he was a Fulbright Scholar. He’s also a fellow of the International Communication Association (ICA) and a distinguished scholar in the National Communication Association (NCA). He’s received the NCA’s Woolbert Award for articles that have stood the test of time and changed thinking in the communication discipline for more than 10 years, and the ICA’s Chaffee Award for career productivity and influence.