Online Hate and Zeitgeist of Fear: A Five-Country Longitudinal Analysis of Hate Exposure and Fear of Terrorism After the Paris Terrorist Attacks in 2015

Markus Kaakinen, Atte Oksanen, Shana Kushner Gadarian, Øyvind Bugge Solheim, Francisco Herreros, Marte Slagsvold Winsvold, Bernard Enjolras, Kari Steen-Johnsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Acts of terror lead to both a rise of an extended sense of fear that goes beyond the physical location of the attacks and to increased expressions of online hate. In this longitudinal study, we analyzed dynamics between the exposure to online hate and the fear of terrorism after the Paris attacks in November 13, 2015. We hypothesized that exposure to online hate is connected to a perceived Zeitgeist of fear (i.e., collective fear). In turn, the perceived Zeitgeist of fear is related to higher personal fear of terrorism both immediately after the attacks and a year later. Hypotheses were tested using path modeling and panel data (N = 2325) from Norway, Finland, Spain, France, and the United States a few weeks after the Paris attacks in November 2015 and again a year later in January 2017. With the exception of Norway, exposure to online hate had a positive association with the perceived Zeitgeist of fear in all our samples. The Zeitgeist of fear was correlated with higher personal fear of terrorism immediately after the attacks and one year later. We conclude that online hate content can contribute to the extended sense of fear after the terrorist attacks by skewing perceptions of social climate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPolitical Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • fear
  • online hate
  • social media
  • terrorism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science and International Relations

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