In a Contentious Era, How Do Friends with Different Values Stick Together? Faculty and Student Research Sheds Light

Americans are perhaps more polarized today than at any time since the Civil War. This idea has become ingrained in contemporary American discourse, popping up with increasing frequency in media coverage, in public opinion studies, and in research about how social media and its “filter bubbles” are driving polarization.

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Simulations Show Extreme Opinions Can Lead to Polarized Groups

In this week’s Chaos, researchers use a theoretical model to examine what effect extreme views have on making the entire system more polarized. The group’s network-based model extends a popular approach for studying opinion dynamics, called the Cobb model, and is based on the hypothesis that those with opinions farther from the middle of a political spectrum are also less influenced by others, a trait known to social scientists as “rigidity of the extreme.”

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Fake Russian Twitter accounts politicized discourse about vaccines

Activity from phony Twitter accounts established by the Russian Internet Research Agency between 2015 and 2017 may have contributed to politicizing Americans’ position on the nature and efficacy of vaccines, a health care topic which has not historically fallen along party lines, according to new research published in the American Journal of Public Health.

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UAH has significant role in LEAP, a mission selected for NASA flight review

In collaboration with Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), the Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR) at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) has a significant role in LEAP – the LargE Area burst Polarimeter – a mission that is one of four proposals approved by NASA for further review.

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