Continuing Studies Talk Series: Trust, Truth, and Technology with Jeff Hancock

Wed February 22nd 2017, 7:30pm
Cubberley Auditorium, School of Education
Continuing Studies Talk Series: Trust, Truth, and Technology with Jeff Hancock

How Media are Shaping the Way We Trust One Another

Trust—that foundational belief in another’s truth and reliability—has been the essential glue of human communities since time immemorial, and continues to be what holds us together in our daily social interactions. Until recently, communities were small enough that trust was built up face-to-face and through shared social bonds—familial, social, and commercial. But today, with human interaction mediated so regularly by technology, there are more opportunities for people to deceive one another. In fact, trust may be one of social media’s most serious casualties. What is it like to live in a world where we can’t be sure that the person we’re communicating with is who she says she is?

Jeff Hancock is just one of the researchers at IRiSS whose work now involves studying the constant stream of data captured as a result of online human activity. While social science experiments were once routinely conducted with small numbers of human subjects, and survey research drew on the responses of a few thousand individuals, social scientists are now analyzing terabytes of data to develop our understanding of such human behavior as trust and deception. 

Jeff Hancock, Professor of Communication and Director of the Center for Computational Social Science at the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, Stanford University

Jeff Hancock studies psychological and interpersonal processes in social media. His team specializes in using computational linguistics and experiments to understand how the words we use can reveal psychological and social dynamics, such as deception and trust, emotional dynamics, intimacy and relationships, and social support. His work on lying and technology has been featured in the popular press, including The New York Times, CNN, NPR, CBS, and the BBC.

This talk is part of the following series:


We are all familiar with the social sciences as an academic category, but we don’t often stop to think about how much is bundled into this modest label: anthropology, economics, law, linguistics, political science, communication, psychology, and sociology, just for a start. Scholars in these fields have a shared goal: to understand how we live together, what works and what doesn’t in our social lives, and how we could do it all better.

In 2004, Stanford established the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (known colloquially as IRiSS and pronounced like the flower) to give researchers the space and leisure to work on these goals. In this new series, each quarter the Executive Director of IRiSS will invite a colleague for a discussion of the guest’s research and to give you, the audience, ample time to engage in the conversation. We hope you will join us.