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Research Priority Area

RPA Communication

The Research Priority Area (RPA) Communication focuses on the contents, uses, and consequences of (new) media and communication. In particular, it pioneers a renewal of media effects theorizing with questions evolving around the uses and effects of communication on individuals’ cognitions, attitudes, emotions, and behaviour. In its current 2018-2022 program, the RPA addresses the urgency that disruptive communication technologies pose for our society in general and research in particular. Technological changes including digitization, connectivity, and mobility have created unprecedented opportunities and challenges for communication in today’s society. As a result of these technological advancements, we see fundamental changes in how information is generated, distributed, received, and processed. These changes apply both at individual and the societal level. In this context, questions of individual and societal communication effects are crucial, particularly in the realms of politics, health, and commerce.

To address these crucial questions, the RPA 2018-2022 focuses on the contents, uses, and consequences of media and communication, with the role of digital communication research methods in studying, measuring, and modelling communication effects being central. These methods will be used to study interdisciplinary communication effects in areas such as politics, health, and commerce, with a special focus on media exposure, mobile and Artificial Intelligence research. To realise this goal, the RPA has launched the Digital Communication Methods Lab (, which brings together existing and new projects with digital communication methods as its cornerstone.

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