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Collaborative Biases

Working groupKnowledge Construction Lab
FundingLeibniz Association (Junior Lab within the “Women in Scientific Leading Positions” framework of the SAW-Procedure 2017)
Project description

Are individual biases mirrored in collaborative web contents? For instance, is the Ukraine presented in a systematically more favorable light than Russia in the Ukrainian Wikipedia article about the Crimean Crisis and is Russia favored in the Russian Wikipedia article about the Crimean Crisis? If biases such as this in-group bias are contained in online encyclopedias as well, these biases could shape the view of a broad audience.

However, prior research with individuals on biases cannot be generalized to online-encyclopedias because it does not take factors and processes into account that are relevant in the context of collaborative production of web contents.

The junior project group “Collaborative Biases” systematically focuses on three aspects and investigates their effect on biases in collaboratively produced web contents: (1) the specific norms that exist in the collaborative environment and which guide authors’ contributions, (2) the process of audience tuning (i.e., an author’s tuning of his or her contribution to the expected opinion of other authors or the readership), and (3) the pervasiveness of the bias. The project comprises highly ecological field studies (e.g., comparisons of various online encyclopedias; comparisons of users’ contributions to different language versions of the same article, such as the Russian vs. Ukrainian article about the Crimean Crisis) as well as highly controlled and thus internally valid lab experiments.


Nestler, S., Leckelt, M., Back, M.D., von der Beck, I., Cress U., & Oeberst A. (2017). Produktion von naturwissenschaftlichen Informationen im Internet am Beispiel von Wikipedia. Psychologische Rundschau, 68, 172-176. https://dx.doi.org/10.1026/0033-3042/a000360

Oeberst, A., von der Beck, I., Back, M., Cress, U., & Nestler, S. (2018). Biases in the production and reception of collective knowledge: The case of hindsight bias in Wikipedia. Psychological Research, 82, 1010-1026. https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00426-017-0865-7

Oeberst, A., von der Beck, I., Cress, U., & Nestler, S. (in press). Wikipedia outperforms individuals when it comes to hindsight bias. Psychological Research.

Oeberst, A., & Matschke, C. (in press). Black sheep are not black in Wikipedia. Comparing descriptions o f perpetrators in the language version of the perpetrator in-group to other (out-group) language versions. Journal of Articles in Support of the Null-Hypothesis.

von der Beck, I., Oeberst, A., Cress, U., & Nestler, S. (2017). Cultural interpretations of global information? Hindsight bias after reading Wikipedia articles across cultures. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 31, 315-325. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.3329

von der Beck, I., Cress, U., & Oeberst, A. (in press). Is there hindsight bias without real hindsight? Conjectures are sufficient to elicit hindsight bias. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. https://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xap0000185