Nav: Home

Wikipedia articles on plane crashes show what we remember -- or forget

April 05, 2017

Wikipedia Articles on Plane Crashes Show What We Remember - Or Forget: Disastrous current events trigger collective memory of certain past events, a new study of nearly 1,500 Wikipedia articles on airplane crashes and other incidents reports. The results, which provide a new way of modeling our collective memory, reveal how different topics are connected to each other through memory and association -- thereby forming an interconnected network of topics. While collective memory, or the socially-generated common perception of an event, has been studied in the past using methods like surveys, the internet provides a largely unexplored record of this phenomenon. Wikipedia is an ideal space to study collective memory since article viewership statistics have been shown to mirror other internet user activity patterns, including Google searches. Here, Ruth García-Gavilanes and colleagues modeled the attention that flows from "source" articles about recent airplane crashes or incidents like hijackings (those that occurred between 2008 and 2016) to articles on older incidents, or "targets." For example, a "source" incident in their analysis was a March 2015 Germanwings crash, when a co-pilot intentionally flew the plane into a mountain. Immediately following the Germanwings crash, a "target" article about a November 2001 American Airlines crash received more views, even though there was no hyperlink between the two articles. An analysis of the 11 largest sources and corresponding targets in the study revealed trigger factors that may prompt view flow. The number of deaths, the date of the crash - the memory of an incident lasts around 45 years, and then drastically drops -- and prior viewership of the target article all had significant impacts. On the other hand, factors such as location of the airline company did not greatly affect views. What was particularly surprising, the researchers report, was that target articles attracted 142% more page views, on average, than source articles on the more current events. García-Gavilanes et al. propose that this attention shift is driven in part by remembering processes, where some past events are particularly memorable and triggered by a current event.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Memory Articles:

Taking photos of experiences boosts visual memory, impairs auditory memory
A quick glance at any social media platform will tell you that people love taking photos of their experiences -- whether they're lying on the beach, touring a museum, or just waiting in line at the grocery store.
Think you know how to improve your memory? Think again
Research from Katherine Duncan at the University of Toronto suggests we may have to rethink how we improve memory.
Improving memory with magnets
The ability to remember sounds, and manipulate them in our minds, is incredibly important to our daily lives -- without it we would not be able to understand a sentence, or do simple arithmetic.
Who has the better memory -- men or women?
In the battle of the sexes, women have long claimed that they can remember things better and longer than men can.
New study of the memory through optogenetics
A collaboration between Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Harvard University pioneers the increase of memory using optogenetics in mice in Spain.
More Memory News and Memory Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...