Internet Encounters: Cognitive instruments and processing news and information in Russia
In the new world of future leaders living wholly in the space of the Internet, it is essential to understand what cognitive instruments are used when "authoritative" sources are gone. The project will use focus groups from among future leaders in a cross-cultural study of graduating students in the three most important universities in Russia and in two American universities, to learn what heuristics individuals use to determine issues of reliability, self-isolation (visiting only those sites with which one agrees and thus narrowing viewpoint diversity), trust, and images of certain countries of the world. This deeper, individual-level interaction with the Internet is not available in the research literature, which tends to focus on patterns of site-visiting and other aggregate data. In contradistinction, this research project will provide insight into how active users process online information, and the cognitive strategies of their own creation concerning principally news and information.
Ellen Mickiewicz is the James R. Shepley Professor of Public Policy Studies at the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy and Professor of Political Science at Duke University. She is a renowned specialist on media and politics, especially in the former Soviet Union and Eastern/Central Europe, she is also a fellow of The Carter Center and had been Lombard Visiting Professor at Harvard University.
Selected publications: Efficacy and Evidence: Evaluating U.S. Goals at the American National Exhibition in Moscow 1959, Journal of Cold War Studies (forthcoming, 2011); Television, Power, and the Public in Russia, Cambridge 2008; Changing Channels: Television and the Struggle for Power in Russia, Oxford 1997 (updated paperback edition, Durham 1999); Split Signals: Television and Politics in the Soviet Union, Oxford 1988; with Roman Kolkowicz (eds.), International Security and Arms Control, New York 1986; with Roman Kolkowicz (eds.), The Soviet Calculus of Nuclear War, Lexington, MA 1986; Media and the Russian Public, New York 1981.
As globalization advances and crises proliferate, the practice of rating countries on democracy and freedom of the press has become increasingly significant in driving funding for “democratization” by the United Nations, the IMF, the United States Government, and NGOs. Yet the basic methodological and philosophical underpinnings of the process are murky. Ellen Mickiewicz will examine what ratings are based on and how reliable they are.