Research Project

  • Fellow: Duncan Wood
  • Advisor: Advisor: Steven Stich, Philosophy

I analyze the effect of being different from the average person on internet usage in the US, predicting that individuals who feel more different will use the internet more. Specifically, I examine the role of minority membership and the social distance between minority and majority groups. Overall, I find mixed results for a variety of minority types that generally affirm my hypothesis when controlling for many confounding factors such as education, neighborhood density, and income. These results often depend on the recency and birth cohorts of those included in the analysis. Blacks, Asian males, and mixed-race males use the internet more than Whites. This effect is larger in younger Blacks. Hispanics either use the internet less or the same as non-Hispanics. Greater racial/ethnic social distance from Whites increases internet use in all groups. Having two foreign born parents increases internet use in the young while decreasing internet use for the old. Having extreme political views only increases internet use in the old. Religious minorities, those who live in a different state than at sixteen, those with one foreign born parent, and those who believe astrology is very scientific use the internet more than their counterparts across all age groups.