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Update from a Postgraduate Fellowship project


image of David

David Moore is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Political Science in TCD. David's main research areas are conspiracy theories, disinformation, and misinformation. He is particularly interested in studying how conspiracy theories, disinformation, and misinformation are communicated and how that influences the dissemination of these theories on social media platforms. David's PhD thesis employs a range of quantitative methods to analyse how the presence of negative emotive language within conspiratorial messaging helps explain the adoption and dissemination of conspiracy theories. You can read more about his research on his site here

Through funding from the TRiSS Postgraduate Research Fellowship, David used a framing experiment fielded using Amazon's Mechanical Turk and Qualtrics. This study demonstrated that individuals who are exposed to a conspiracy theory through a negative emotive frame are significantly more likely to believe that theory than those who are either exposed through a neutral frame or are not exposed to the theory at all. The findings of this research was presented at the Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI) Annual Conference in October 2020 and the PSAI Annual Postgraduate Conference in January 2021. Further, the results will be presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference in April 2021 and the European Political Science Association Annual Conference in June 2021. Having proven the connection between negative emotive language and conspiratorial belief, David is currently analysing the real-world use and effect of negative emotive language in conspiratorial messaging. This is done through the large-scale analysis of news articles, and social media posts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The support that TRiSS has offered David throughout his time in Trinity, and specifically in the form of the Postgraduate Research Fellowship has been invaluable in the pursuit of his research.