Research

My research interests focus on social norms, particularly conditions under which norms change, and the effects of social feedback and information on perception and conformity to a social norm. In my research, I understand social norms as changeable, sometimes suddenly and unexpectedly. I have a special interest in the effect of perceived social norms on communication, specifically in the relation between perceived norms and the expression of prejudice and other (extreme) opinions. How does the perception of social acceptability of an opinion affect the willingness to express them publicly? In my research, I use different methodological approaches, but with a focus on experimental methods, and especially online experiments. Furthermore, I am very interested in online research and the new opportunities it brings.

During the past years I have focused on norms that regulate online hate speech. In this line of research I work together with Fabian Winter and we investigate how people’s opinions (and actions) are inhibited by perceived social norms in online environments. you can read about the project here. We also investigate the impact of terrorist attacks on the level of hate speech against refugees in online discussions, and  the effect of terrorist attacks on social norms of prejudice expression. In this project, we use a combination of a natural and a lab-in-the-field experiment. You can read about the project here.

In a different project  we investigate the effect of the channel of dissemination of information –public or private- on norm compliance. In this experiment we explore the effect on coordination of receiving normative relevant information through either a public or a private channel. We have designed an experiment that allows us to investigate whether the provision of public information can enhance coordination on a fairness norm on a public good game.

My last project involves perception of acceptability of prejudice by means of observing increasing norm violations in the context and the willingness to publicly endorse anti-immigrant views. Preliminary results can read here.