About the project

Emotional social media and affective publics? The role of discrete emotions in explaining individual-level affective polarization

Emotional reactions such as anger, fear and anxiety can play a significant part in politics and in spurring extreme dislike between various partisan camps in society. The academic community has seen a rise in the interest of studying the role of emotions and media in polarization. Regarding affective polarization, an important are of research is to explore what impact discrete emotions have in the formation of attitudes of affective polarization. Furthermore, more research is needed on how emotions in media content increase or decrease affective polarization. The research project “EmoAffect” strives to contribute with new knowledge by studying how emotional reactions drive affective polarization.

The project is divided into two work packages. The goal of the first work package is to analyze emotional reactions to social media messages in a lab-setting and to validate survey items on self-reported emotional reactions. The goal of the second work package is to conduct survey experiment to test a full mediation/moderation model of how emotional reactions relate to affective polarization among individuals.

The project is funded by the Research Council of Finland and carried out at Åbo Akademi University.

Research group
Professor, Kim Strandberg
Associate professor/docent, Jenny Lindholm (WP1)
Associate professorship/docent, Marina Lindell (WP2)
Senior researcher, Tom Carlson
MS, Research assistant, Jesper Eklund