Carnegie Mellon University

Center for Informed Democracy & Social - cybersecurity (IDeaS)

CMU's center for the study of disinformation, hate speech and extremism online

IDeaS Center for Informed Democracy & Social-cybersecurity

IDeaS Center Spring 2024 Seminar Series

Upcoming Seminars:

Tuesday February 27, 2024, 4pm US Eastern - Hybrid, TCS Hall Room 358 and Zoom

Chris Labash


Nudging truth: Can Advertising, Behavioral Design, Nudge Theory, and Generative AI be used to influence the acceptance of science and fact?

Research tells us that if you really believe that the Earth is flat, a random Professor or Expert explaining to you that it's round is not only not going to convince you but will make you more firmly commit to your false belief. But what if the explanation was framed in the way that someone whom you trusted spoke, asking you to just consider that there is some information that supports the possibility that just maybe the earth might be round? 

Advertising agencies and design firms have over the years employed techniques of awareness, influence and persuasion to encourage reticent audiences to do everything from prevent forest fires to rock the vote. Are there effective techniques used in advertising and design that can be applied to change the negative or neutral behaviors of reticent or untrusting audiences? 

We explore a research design that uses generative AI to frame responses to subject questions in a way that a trusted public figure would respond, if they limited their response to facts only. By analyzing the resultant conversations that explore contentious topics such as election integrity and vaccine effectiveness, we look to see if receptivity to facts and evidence can increase immediately and/or over time.

This project is still in the developmental stage. We anticipate it being in the field within the next few months.


Chris Labash is an Associate Professor of Communication and Innovation in Carnegie Mellon's Heinz College and teaches a variety of communication, consulting, and strategy courses to graduate student and executive audiences. He is also a researcher and faculty member with CMU’s Center for Informed Democracy and Social - Cybersecurity (IDeaS) - Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Disinformation, Hate Speech, & Extremism Online, and regularly consults with CMU’s Software Engineering Institute, as well as other organizations and businesses.

His current research looks at how applying principles of communication, influence, persuasion, advertising and design might help audiences better trust accurate information as it is communicated, and marginalize or dispel misinformation and disinformation.

Prior to joining the Carnegie Mellon Faculty in 2003, Chris had been Executive Vice President, Executive Creative Director at Ketchum Advertising (then the 15th-largest ad agency in the world), Vice President of Global Marketing at Development Dimensions International, a management consultant, and a serial entrepreneur. 

Register Here **After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

2024 Spring Seminar Schedule

March 12, 2024, Renée DiResta - Technical Research Manager at Stanford Internet Observatory

April 9, 2024, Audrey Kurth Cronin Trustees Professor of Security and Technology and the founding director of the Carnegie Mellon Institute for Strategy and Technology (CMIST)

April 23, 2024, Cynthia Miller-Idriss Professor, School of Public Affairs and School of Education, Department of Justice, Law & Criminology

April 30, 2024, Matthias C. Kettemann - Professor of Innovation, Theory and Philosophy of Law at the Institute for Theory and Future of Law at the University of Innsbruck (Austria)

**Unless noted all seminars will be held virtually via Zoom. Additional talk details and registration links will be posted online prior to seminar dates. Email to be added to the mailing list.

The IDeaS Seminar series are held during Spring and Fall semesters. Most seminars are live streamed and available on our YouTube page after the event. 

If you have suggestions for speakers, please submit them here.

If you have questions about upcoming seminars, please use the contact us link below.



Past Seminar Presenters

Computational and Design Approaches for Combating Problematic Online Information

Tanu Mitra

Juliana Schroeder - The Psychology of Reading "Mind" During Conversation

Juliana Schroeder

Katie Harbath - Tech and elections - A brief history of how we got here and where we go next

Katie Harbath

Sam Gregory - Deepfakes: Critical questions on current problems and emerging ‘solutions'

Sam Gregory

Ananya Sen - Quantifying the User Value of Social Media Data

ananya sen

Daniyar Serikov - Distortions in the Kazakh Media Landscape

grayscale globe with Kazakhstan highlighted by its flag

Jessica Dawson - The Surveillance App Economy and the National Security Risk

Jessica Dawson

Joshua Tucker - The (Surprisingly?) Limited Impact of Russia's Election Interference on Twitter in the 2016 US Election

Joshua Tucker

Yan Leng Ph.D. - Analysis of misinformation during the COVID-19 outbreak in China: cultural, social and political entanglements

Yan Leng