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This 2 years stand-alone project MERITS (P 25593-G22) is funded by the Austrian Science Fund

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It deals with socio-cognitive aspects of Social Tagging, a popular functionality of social Web environments (e.g., Delicious) allowing users to describe collected resources by a set of freely chosen labels (tags) and thus, to prompt their own and others’ search processes through social cues.

From a cognitive perspective, MERITS investigates the production of tags as a manifestation of a resource reflection that unfolds as a search of human memory (e.g., Seitlinger, Ley & Albert, 2015). Close attention is paid to the temporal dynamics during reflection (e.g., increasing contributions of deeper, conceptual memory structures) and the way these micro level dynamics are coupled to socio-cognitive processes on a macro level, such as the emergence of a shared tag vocabulary (that is also denoted ‘semantic stabilization‘).

An increased understanding of this coupling of micro and macro level dynamics shoud help (i) modeling/simulating processes of stabilization in social tagging systems (e.g., Seitlinger & Ley, 2016), (ii) analyzing effects of stabilization on individual learning in collaboration scenarios on the Web (e.g., Ley & Seitlinger, 2015), and (iii) designing and evaluating automatic tag recommendation mechanisms supporting the process of stabilization (e.g., Seitlinger, Kowald, Trattner & Ley, 2013).

Insights gained about socio-cognitive processes of stabilization will be applied in the follow-up project OMFix to investigate convergent phenomena involved in opinion formation in social media as well as to design creatively stimulating services helping to mitigate such echo chamber effects.

The project is a cooperation between Graz University of Technology (Dietrich AlbertPaul Seitlinger) and Tallinn University (Tobias Ley).

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