Research

 

Fake Images: The Effects of Source, Intermediary, and Digital Media Literacy on Contextual Assessment of Image Credibility Online

Shen, C., Kasra, M., Pan, W., Bassett, G. A., Malloch, Y., and O’Brien, J. F. (2018). “Fake Images: The Effects of Source, Intermediary, and Digital Media Literacy on Contextual Assessment of Image Credibility Online.” New Media & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444818799526

Fake or manipulated images propagated through the Web and social media have the capacity to deceive, emotionally distress, and influence public opinions and actions. Yet few studies have examined how individuals evaluate the authenticity of images that accompany online stories. This article details a 6-batch large-scale online experiment using Amazon Mechanical Turk that probes how people evaluate image credibility across online platforms. In each batch, participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 28 news-source mockups featuring a forged image, and they evaluated the credibility of the images based on several features. We found that participants’ Internet skills, photo-editing experience, and social media use were significant predictors of image credibility evaluation, while most social and heuristic cues of online credibility (e.g. source trustworthiness, bandwagon, intermediary trustworthiness) had no significant impact. Viewers’ attitude toward a depicted issue also positively influenced their credibility evaluation.

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The Institute for Interanimation: A Framework for New Media Collaboration

Kasra, M., and Bussigel, P. (2018). The Institute for Interanimation: A Framework for New Media Collaboration. Proceedings of the 24th International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA 2018), June 23-30, 2018, Durban, South Africa. 978-0-620-80332-8

This paper reflects on an experiment in new media art and pedagogy that combined technical research with creative output through a collaborative large-scale project. Developed at the University of Virginia, the Institute for Interanimation provided a framework for faculty, students, and local artists to collectively build an audiovisual environment called Phase 3, exploring how new technologies continually reframe what it means to be (a)live. Virtual reality pods, interactive objects, and live animations examined the social and cultural implications of mediation, virtuality, and liveness across hybrid physical/digital spaces. Outlining a conceptual and practical framework for collaboration, the authors discuss the shifting objectives of the Institute for Interanimation, an organization dedicated to exploring the unpredictable and continually shifting thresholds between ‘real’ life and ‘virtual’ life. This paper seeks to present a few frames culled from a much longer animation. It outlines a multifaceted and practical approach to new media pedagogy that moves between the technical and the critical, the classroom and the stage, the live and the live. The intention is to share an attempt at developing an institutional structure based on change rather than permanence without shying away from tensions and complications that emerged within the process.

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Seeing Is Believing: How People Fail to Identify Fake Images on the Web

Kasra, M., Shen, C., and O’Brien, J. F. Seeing Is Believing: How People Fail to Identify Fake Images on the Web. CHI’18 Extended Abstracts, April 21–26, 2018, Montreal, QC, Canada ACM 978-1-4503-5621-3/18/04. https://doi.org/10.1145/3170427.3188604

The growing ease with which digital images can be convincingly manipulated and widely distributed on the Internet makes viewers increasingly susceptible to visual misinformation and deception. In situations where ill-intentioned individuals seek to deliberately mislead and influence viewers through fake online images, the harmful consequences could be substantial. We describe an exploratory study of how individuals react, respond to, and evaluate the authenticity of images that accompany online stories in Internet-enabled communications channels. Our preliminary findings support the assertion that people perform poorly at detecting skillful image manipulation, and that they often fail to question the authenticity of images even when primed regarding image forgery through discussion. We found that viewers make credibility evaluation based mainly on non-image cues rather than the content depicted. Moreover, our study revealed that in cases where context leads to suspicion, viewers apply post-hoc analysis to support their suspicions regarding the authenticity of the image.

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Digital-Networked Images as Personal Acts of Political Expression: New Categories for Meaning Formation

Kasra, M. (2017). Digital-networked images as personal acts of political expression: New categories for meaning formation. Media and Communication, 5(4), 51–64. http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/mac.v5i4.1065

Abstract:  This article examines the growing use of digital-networked images, specifically online self-portraits or “selfies”, as deliberate and personal acts of political expression and the ways in which meaning evolves and expands from their presence on the Internet. To understand the role of digital-networked images as a site for engaging in a personal and connective “visual” action that leads to formation of transient communities, the author analyzes the nude self-portrait of the young Egyptian woman Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, which during the Egyptian uprisings in 2011 drew attention across social media. As an object of analysis this image is a prime example of the use of digital-networked images in temporally intentional distribution, and as an instance of political enactment unique to this era. This article also explains the concept of participatory narratives as an ongoing process of meaning formation in the digital-networked image, shaped by the fluidity of the multiple and immediate textual narratives, visual derivatives, re-appropriation, and remixes contributed by other interested viewers. The online circulation of digital-networked images in fact culminates in a flow of ever-changing and overarching narratives, broadening the contextual scope around which images are traditionally viewed.

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Selfies, Dance, and Performance: A Multimedia and Multidisciplinary Collaboration

Brooks Mata, K., & Kasra, M. (2017). Selfies, Dance, and Performance: A Multimedia and Multidisciplinary Collaboration. Journal of Dance Education, 17(3), 115–123. https://doi.org/10.1080/15290824.2017.1326605

Abstract: This article discusses a pedagogical and creative approach to designing a mixed-media, live dance performance. By involving undergraduate students in the process, the authors were able to examine the contemporary phenomenon of selfies and the effect of the “online self” and “mediated self” on dance performance. The performance combined the work of dance and digital media design faculty members, self-reflective contributions from students, a music composer, and a costume designer. Even the audience participated, as the students’ selfies and images of audience members taken by the dancers early in the performance were then also projected onto a media screen. Some of the choreographed movements were developed by student dancers following journaling and small group explorations of self and identity as seen in the selfies. Postperformance interviews revealed the value of complicating more traditional dance-making practices through role interdependence and of teaching the creative integration of multimedia in performance design.

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Vigilantism, public shaming, and social media hegemony: The role of digital-networked images in humiliation and sociopolitical control

Kasra, M. (2017). Vigilantism, public shaming, and social media hegemony: The role of digital-networked images in humiliation and sociopolitical control. The Communication Review, 20(3), 172–188. https://doi.org/10.1080/10714421.2017.1343068

Abstract: Digital-networked images of torture, abuse, and humiliation are increasingly used by nonstate agents to form online communities based upon prejudice and bigotry and/or to propagate violent vigilante justice. This article discusses the circulation, impact, and permanence of digital-networked images that perpetuate nonstate hegemony and function as mechanisms for exercising power, disciplinary force, and social control reminiscent of Foucauldian theories of power-knowledge and governmentality.

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