2.7 million for research in political rumours

Michael Bang Petersen has been granted DKK 2.7 million to examine the psychology behind political rumours and misinformation on social media.

2016.12.08 | Ingrid Marie Fossum

Why are people susceptible to political rumours? How do rumours affect political trust? When can their potentially harmful effects be remedied?

These questions and more will hopefully be answered when Professor Michael Bang Petersen examines the psychology behind political rumours on social media. The Aarhus University Research Foundation has granted him DKK 2.7 million for the project – a so-called AU Nova Grant. 

The spread of political rumours is fast, impactful, and hence crucial to understand. Today, in the age of social media, citizens are actively engaged in crafting and spreading stories to others. As a consequence, rumours, i.e. difficult-to-verify information, abound in politics. Often, these rumours are similar to conspiracy theories and portray opposing groups as ‘evil’. The rise of Donald Trump’s candidacy is a striking example, reads Michael Bang Petersen’s project description.


The project title is ”The Politics of Rumors in the Age of Social Media: Why, How And When Hostile Political Rumors Spread and Polarize”.