UBC Okanagan digital deception research among 79 projects funded

UBC Okanagan psychology professor Michael Woodworth is among 79 UBC researchers sharing in $7-million worth of federal funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) annual grants competition.

Woodworth received $87,055 for a three-year research project in conjunction with colleagues at Cornell University, exploring the issue of deception in computer mediated environments – such as online chat rooms.

“Given the prevalence of both deception and communication technology in our personal and professional lives, an important set of concerns have recently emerged about how technology affects digital deception,” says Woodworth. He describes digital deception as any type of message sent electronically that creates a false belief in the receiver of the message.

“For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation recently indicated that a growing number of individuals are falling prey to deceptive practices and information that they had received through computer mediated contexts such as the Internet,” says Woodworth.

“By learning more about how various factors affect detecting deceit in online communication, the proposed research will play an important role in achieving that goal.  The research results will certainly have important implications in organizational contexts, both legal and illegal, in the political domain, and in family life, as more and more children go online.”

UBC researchers in Vancouver and the Okanagan earned second place among Canadian universities for funding garnered in the 2006 SSHRC grants competition. This year, 969 Standard Research Grants worth a total of $81.3 million were awarded to researchers at 92 Canadian universities and colleges. Top spot went to the University of Toronto, which secured $7.9 million. McGill University ranked third with $6 million.

“This strong federal support reinforces UBC’s ability to make a difference in people’s lives through exploring vital social, cultural and economic issues,” says John Hepburn, UBC vice-president, Research.

“UBC ranks among the world’s top 40 universities because innovative scholars such as these continue to expand our research capacity.”

Other UBC investigations funded by SSHRC include:

  • Asst. Prof. Marc-David Seidel, UBC Sauder School of Business, received $79,950 to explore how social networks and friendship ties can shape hiring policies – a practice that impacts Canadian immigrants.
  • With a grant of $101,640, Human Kinetics Prof. Patricia Vertinsky will look at the role of physical and health education in normalizing body weight and defining fatness.
  • Economics Asst. Prof. Kevin Milligan has been awarded $58,309 to research revenue and spending patterns of people nearing retirement and investment choices of the elderly during health changes.
  • Assoc. Prof. Stephen Petrina, Faculty of Education, won $181,051 to research how children, adolescents, teens, adults and older adults learn to use new technologies for everyday activities.

UBC attracts leading-edge researchers from a broad spectrum of disciplines. Research funding has climbed to $485.6 million, which supports more than 6,800 studies.

A complete listing of SSHRC grant recipients may be found at www.sshrc.ca.

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