Memories in conflict: a field experiment on transitional justice
Elsa Voytas (with Laia Balcells)
Do transitional justice museums promote reconciliation after political violence? Existing scholarship suggests that transitional justice policies aid processes of reconciliation and promote tolerance by acknowledging and imparting a shared history of past events. These notions motivate the widespread construction of transitional justice museums. Skeptics, however, caution that transitional justice policies can induce a polarizing effect, ingraining societal divisions. In past research in Chile, we find that though participants' evaluations of a museum recounting the Pinochet dictatorship differ according to individuals' partisan identification, visiting the museum increases support for democracy and victim-centered transitional justice policies, regardless of pre-treatment ideology. The current project extends this work by implementing a field experiment studying the House of Memory Museum in Medellín, Colombia to advance our understanding of museums' impacts in civil war settings. We propose to measure 1) how treatment (a one hour museum visit) alters visitors' political attitudes and behaviors related to the conflict; 2) whether visitors with varying ideologies and connections to violence have different experiences in transitional justice museums; and 3) the durability of any attitudinal or behavioral changes.
Video "Deepfakes": Understanding a Novel Form of Misinformation
Kevin Munger (with Chris Lucas and Soubhik Barari)
The technology to create realistic-looking ``Deepfake" videos---where existing video data is modified to change what a person appears to be saying---has recently become public and can be implemented by anyone with advanced coding knowledge and hobbyist-level hardware. Although there have not yet been reports of the use of this technology to create political propaganda, there is widespread concern that it is inevitable. We use this technology to create fake videos of Presidents Trump and Obama saying politically inflammatory things that they never actually said and then present this videos as ``ads" within a video shown to subjects in a lab experiment. The project is exploratory at this stage, and much of what we want to learn is how to effectively debrief subjects exposed to these potentially potent stimuli.