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The Influence of Humorously Intended Communication on Political Decision-Making in the Context of Climate Change

KLIMA-MEMES investigates the influence of memes (humorously intended texts/pictures/videos shared online) on political decision-making in the context of public discourses about an adequate handling of climate change.

Project description

KLIMA-MEMES explores the influence of memes – humorously intended texts, images and videos shared online – on political decision-making in the context of the public discourse on how to deal adequately with climate change. As one of the most pressing problems facing humanity, climate change regularly dominates the political agenda, but experts from the IPCC agree that the measures taken so far do not allow for an adequate mitigation or adaptation of climate change. This assessment is regularly expressed via social media and their fast, increasingly visual and often humor-driven attention cycles. Platforms such as Instagram or TikTok in particular are seeing large increases in user numbers today, but this relevance has hardly been taken into account in scientific research to date.

The consortium project KLIMA-MEMES fills this gap by

  1. methodically combining Machine Vision and Natural Language Processing with political and strategic communication,
  2. conceptually and empirically tracing public negotiation processes about memes and their influence on political decision makers, and
  3. theoretically combining modern approaches of diffusion theory with older approaches of agenda setting as well as more recent approaches to the impact of visual communication in a sustainable way.

The project aims at (a) establishing an interdisciplinary analysis and measurement tool for textual and visual content in social media, (b) empirically analyzing humorous intended public communication and its diffusion in the context of UN climate conferences, and (c) empirically testing the influence of such content and its diffusion on the political decision-making of members of the German Bundestag.

For this purpose, the interdisciplinary consortium is composed of internationally renowned experts from all participating disciplines within the interdisciplinary topic of climate change and thus combines the research fields of communication, society and participation with the thematic focus of environment and digital transformation.

Project team

Dr. Jörg Haßler

Junior Research Group Digital Democratic Mobilization in Hybrid Media Systems, Department of Media and Communication | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

Prof. Dr. Mario Haim

Chair of Computational Communication Research, Department of Media and Communication | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

Prof. Dr. Björn Ommer

Chair of Machine Vision and Learning, Computer Vision & Learning Group | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

Prof. Dr. Barbara Plank

Chair for AI and Computational Linguistics, Center for Information and Language Processing (CIS) | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

Dr. Simon Lübke

Research Associate, Department of Media and Communication | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

Dr. Siyao (Logan) Peng

Research Associate, The Center for Information and Language Processing (CIS) | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

Johannes Fischer M.Sc.

Research Associate, Computer Vision & Learning Group | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

Nadezhda Ozornina M.A.

Research Associate, Department of Media and Communication | Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

Shijia Zhou B.Sc.

Research Associate, The Center for Information and Language Processing (CIS) | Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

Alumni

Daniela Teodorescu M.Sc.

Research Associate, The Center for Information and Language Processing (CIS) | Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität in Munich