Professor Gaël Le Mens, one of the 13 researchers funded by the European Research Council

The European Research Council (ERC) has granted 630 million euros of EU funds to 329 excellent researchers from all over Europe, of whom 13 work in Spain and will receive a total of 23 million euros. Professor Gaël Le Mens, who lectures on the Master of Science in Management, was one of the 13 researchers to receive a grant from the EU's research and innovation program, Horizon 2020.

The project presented by Professor Le Mens proposes to study how the current polarization of opinions of social groups has produced the rise of nationalism and of populist ideologies in Europe. Le Mens wants to understand the mechanisms that generate this polarization combining knowledge of psychology, sociology and economics to understand how the way of choosing information shapes beliefs and attitudes. According to the project funded by the European Research Council, this research is very topical because "social media is very quickly transforming the way in which people access information today". "Social media makes it easier for people to access news sources that match their opinions and, moreover, they allow people to very easily avoid any information that questions these views or is contrary to them," explains the project.

For this reason, Professor Le Mens will try to explain how information consumption patterns enabled by new means of social communication affect individual and collective attitudes. By doing so, he hopes that the results of this research will help to understand phenomena that range from the impact of false news to the persistence of negative stereotypes about social groups that are different to our own.