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About the Summer School

Fake news and alternative facts, interaction in social networks, online trade and the perception of others in VR environments – all of these seemingly disparate topics are connected to the concept of ‘trust’ in mediated communication. Essential questions of whom we can trust, who has ‘authentic’ motivations, and what is ‘true’ lie at the heart of numerous media related phenomena - whether we rely on the information of news media or the Tweets of a politician, whether we expose our intimate thoughts to strangers in online chats, whether we value the recommendations of users on travel portals, or whether we perceive a virtual environment and its inhabitants as ‘real’.

The diversity of these phenomena points to the need of conceptual and empirical clarification on multiple levels: On a fundamental micro-level of psychological perceptions and processes, one has to ask for the factors that contribute to an emotional and cognitive evaluation of something or somebody (including our own senses) as trustable. On the level of social interactions in dyads, triads or groups, one can identify manifold and evolving trustor-trustee relationships, with a complex interplay of perceived risk and trustworthiness factors (among ‘normal’ citizens, or professionals, like journalists, scientists, politicians etc.). On the level of societal institutions, more general questions of trust become obvious: Can society still trust politics or journalism, and who abuses trust for their own goals via the manipulation of societies?

The International Summer School “Trust in mediated communication”, hosted by the Department of Communication at the University of Münster, Germany, is the 4th in a series of summer schools organized in collaboration with Michigan State University (USA) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (USA). The Summer School will provide advanced training for PhD students and aims at fostering sustainable and productive international and interdisciplinary networks to enable the next generation of media researchers to address the scientific and societal challenges of the mediated world of today and tomorrow. To this end, the Summer School will bring together leading senior and junior researchers from communication studies, media research, psychology and education to discuss current theories, cutting-edge methods, and future prospects related to innovative fields of media and communication research.

The summer school in Münster will take place from May 29th to June 3rd, 2018 and is free of charge for accepted participants. It will focus on these general topic categories, covering a wide range of scientific questions:

  1. Social media / Computer Mediated Communication & trust
  2. Journalism, politics, science & trust
  3. Trust in virtual environments
  4. Perceptions, processes and trust

The summer school takes place directly after the annual convention of the International Communication Association (ICA) 2018 in Prague. A bus transport from Prague (with a stop-over in Weimar) on the 29th of May is offered for free for accepted participants.

The next summer school will be held at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA, in 2019.

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Submission deadline:
December 8th, 2017

Acceptance notifications:
January 14th, 2018

Deadline for accepted participants to confirm their participation:
February 1st, 2018

Summer School:
May 29th – June 3rd, 2018