Nicholas C. Dias

Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania


Present Ph.D. in Political Science and Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Advisors: Yphtach Lelkes and Matthew S. Levendusky.

2017 M.S. in Journalism, Columbia University

Master’s Project: “Companies, countries still violating UN shipping sanctions against North Korea.”

Concentration in computational and data journalism. Graduated with Honors.

2015 B.A. in Psychology and Communication, University of California, Davis

Honors Thesis: “Resolving adult attachment theory and relational dialectics: Is the need for independence always present?”

Graduated with Highest Honors. Dean’s Honor List for 8 quarters. Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.

Research Employment

2017–19 Researcher, Shorenstein Center on Media Politics and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Led research undertaken by the Center’s anti-misinformation initiative, the Information Disorder (ID) Lab, and helped devise the social-network monitoring processes for the Lab.

2017 First Draft News, Senior Research Fellow

Led research on social bots targeting the 2017 UK General Election, devised social-network monitoring processes for First Draft’s election projects, and wrote editorials and teaching materials.


Peer-Reviewed Articles

2022 Dias, N. C. & Lelkes, Y. “The Nature of Affective Polarization: Disentangling Policy Disagreement from Partisan Identity.” American Journal of Political Science.

2021 Holbert, R. L., Dias, N. C., Hardy, B. W., Jamieson, K. H., Levendusky, M. S., Renninger, A. S., Romer, D., Winneg, K. M., & Pasek, J. “Exploring the Role of Media Use Within an Integrated Behavioral Model (IBM) Approach to Vote Likelihood.” American Behavioral Scientist, 65(3), 412–431.

2020 Dias, N. C. & Sippitt, A. “Researching Fact Checking: Present Limitations and Future Opportunities.” The Political Quarterly, 91(3), 605–613.

Dias, N. C., Pennycook, G. & Rand, D. G. “Emphasizing publishers does not effectively reduce susceptibility to misinformation on social media.” Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review.

Working Papers

Dias, N. C., Druckman, J. N., & Levendusky, M. S. “How and Why Americans Misperceive the Prevalence of, and Motives Behind, ‘Cancel Culture’.”

Dias, N. C., Pearl, J., & Lelkes, Y. “American Partisans Vastly (and Consequentially) Underestimate the Diversity of Other Partisans’ Attitudes.”

Dias, N. C. & Lelkes, Y. “Is It Really That Easy? Reconsidering the Easy-Hard Issue Distinction in American Politics.”

Dias, N. C. “Why the Mass Public Values Each Other’s Policy Preferences.”

Invited Talks

2022 “Is it Really that Easy? Reconsidering ‘Easy’ and ‘Hard’ Issues in American Politics.” American Political Science Association Conference.

“Speech Norms in Contemporary America: The Realities and Misperceptions of ‘Cancel Culture’.” Aarhus ’22 Conference on Online Hostility and Bystanders.

“What Drives Cancel Culture?” American Political Science Association Conference.

“Is it Really that Easy? Reconsidering ‘Easy’ and ‘Hard’ Issues in American Politics.” Midwestern Political Science Association Conference.

“Are You Who I Think? Using Policy Preferences and Values to Judge Others.” Talk at the University of Massachusetts.

“Explicating and Reconsidering the Easy-Hard Issue Distinction in American Politics.” Talk at the University of Amsterdam.

2018 “Monitoring for health misinformation on Nigerian social networks.” Talk at Fake News that Harms conference in Abuja, Nigeria.

“WhatsApp, disinformation and political violence in Kenya and India.” Talk at George Washington University.

2017 “Hoaxes, memes & bots: Learning how to navigate our polluted information streams.” Talk at Mount Holyoke College.

“Verification and social media monitoring.” Talk at Facebook Colombia.

“Monitoring and mining Facebook and Twitter.” Talk at Universidad Santo Tomas, Bogota, Colombia.

Selected Op-Eds and Reports

2017 Dias, N. C. “How Academics Can Help Platforms Tackle Disinformation.” Understanding and Addressing the Disinformation Ecosystem, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Dias, N. C. “The Era of Whatsapp Propaganda Is Upon Us.” Foreign Policy.

Dias, N. C., Kamal, R. & Bastien, L. “What makes a good FOIA request? We studied 33,000 to find out.” Columbia Journalism Review.

Awards & Funding

2022 Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students. University of Pennsylvania.

2021 Distinguished Junior Scholar in Political Psychology. American Political Science Association.

2018 Baum, M. A. & Dias, N. C. “Understanding misinformation on mobile instant messengers: A study in Brazil, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Pakistan.” Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. $200,000.

Baum, M. A. & Dias, N. C. “Understanding misinformation on mobile instant messengers: A study in Brazil, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, and Pakistan.” Omidyar Network. $180,000.

Baum, M. A., Lazer, D., Grinberg, N., Swire-Thompson, B., Beauchamp, N., Dias, N. C. & Hickey, C. “Do Fact-Checks Slow the Spread of Misinformation on Facebook and Twitter?” Social Science One. $50,000.


2021 Teaching Assistant. Introduction to Politics. Prof. Michele Margolis.

2020 Teaching Assistant. Introduction to Data Science. Instructors Marc Trussler and Stephew Pettigrew.

Service to the Department

2022–23 Representative, Graduate Student Organization. Department of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania.

2021–22 Event Coordinator, Democracy and Information Group. Annenberg School for Communication.

2020 President, Graduate Student Council. Annenberg School for Communication.

2019–20 Treasurer, Graduate Student Council. Annenberg School for Communication.

Service to the Discipline


2022 Member, Distinguished Junior Scholar Award Committee, Political Psychology Division, American Political Science Association.

Ad Hoc Reviewer

American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Public Opinion Quarterly, Research & Politics, Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences.