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Gael Le Mens, Professor of Behavioural Science on the UPF Master of Science Management programmes, has been awarded a 1.2 million euro consolidator grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for his project, ‘The Implications of Selective Information Sampling for Individual and Collective Judgments’.
The prestigious ERC consolidator grants are awarded on the basis of research excellence and fund projects that have the potential to generate ground-breaking knowledge. Only 13% of the projects submitted for funding have been successful this year, with international peer reviewers applying strict criteria.
Professor Le Mens’ project will combine insights from psychology, sociology and economics to understand how the way we select information shapes beliefs and attitudes.
“The polarization of attitudes across social groups is at the root of crucial challenges faced by our societies such as the rise of nationalism or populist ideologies,” he explains. “With grant, my team and I will study the mechanisms leading to such attitude polarization.
“This project is timely, because social media are quickly transforming how people access information, making it easier for people to be exposed to news sources that agree with their opinions. They can also easily avoid information that questions or goes against their views.
“We want to explain how these patterns of information consumption facilitated by social media affect individual and collective attitudes. The results will help understand phenomena that range from the impact of fake news to the persistence of negative stereotypes toward social groups that are different from our own.”
The ERC offers four grants: starter, consolidator, advanced and synergy. Consolidator grants are awarded to excellent researchers with seven to 12 years’ experience after PhD, and are worth up to two million euros. You can find out more about the ERC at www.erc.europa.eu.
Prof. Le Mens teaches the Organizational Behavioral and Negotiation courses in the Master of Science in Management. You can read more about his research on his personal webpage