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online hate

 Online Hate
 Dynamics, Contexts, & Effects

Since March 2020, explicit online racial discrimination has emerged as yet another deleterious effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on American life. 


In this research series, we report on the results of several studies that examine the startling increase of incidents of online harassment against Asian Americans that has coincided with the pandemic.


These studies offer detailed exploration into how passively viewing the online hate posts on our social media feeds can affect our attitudes and behaviors.


Located in the heart of Detroit, Michigan, researchers from the SMART Labs at Wayne State University examine issues surrounding social media, human communication, and close relationships. Broadly, we explore how people think about and use popular social media and artificial intelligence systems. We also examine the effects these technologies have on people's decisions, self-concept, and relationships with others.


Our lab has conducted several studies investigating how popular online dating websites and mobile apps are influencing the contemporary landscape of romantic relationships. In this line of work, we have explored how daters' personalities, sexualities, cultures, and religions affect their use of different dating sites and apps. Simultaneously, we have examined how dating technologies shape the decisions and directions of daters' relational futures.

At present, we are also exploring interpretations and effects of anti-Asian online hate speech in the context of COVID-19. We investigate how communication is being used for the performance of harmful speech acts on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. As an example of engaged scholarship, this project examines how people’s passive viewership of such speech acts can inspire them to engage in online activism, through petition signing and monetary donations. In addition to advancing communication theory and providing deeper insights into contemporary understandings of racism, the results of this project are poised to offer important practical insights that can stimulate positive social change. 

Our lab has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the National Communication Association, and Wayne State University Provost's Office.

Lab Graduates


Brandon Burbank (BA), William Cooper (MA), Elena Corriero (PhD), Elizabeth Diviney (BA), Allison Elam (MA), Jasmine Grotto (BA), Liyan Ibrahim (BA), Brittany Jefferson (MA), Sean Kolhoff (PhD), Benjamin Lennemann (BA), Rachelle Prince (MA), Daniel Nguyen (BA), Annisa M. P. Rochadiat (MA, PhD), Prathyusha Tadi (BS), Chad Van De Wiele (BA), Kunto Wibowo (PhD), Andrew Wirth (BA)



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