True or not, some ideas develop a live of their own: Once proposed in a public debate, they are intuitively accepted as plausible, widely picked up and repeated, quickly coming to dominate our thinking about public issues. Even after long time, they remain easy to recall, widely recognized, and immune to newer, possibly better knowledge. Sometimes developing into firmly held stereotypes, such "resonant frames" provide a powerful, stable grid to our thinking. Other ideas fail to resonate, or fall out of resonance after a while.

The literature on propaganda, political campaigns, and identity is replete with cases of resonant frames: Powerful, politically charged interpretations of our world that appear self-evident and justified, are readily accepted even by people with different attitudes and survive disconfirming evidence better than other interpretations. Importantly, whether frames resonate does not seem to depend much on the logical consistency and scientific evidence: Many demonstrably false, absurd and plainly stupid ideas have been shown able to achieve resonance. This is particularly worrysome in the context of propaganda and violent conflict: Resonant frames may easily corrupt our judgement, enable social control and mobilize large parts of a society for radical, uniform action. Resonant frames is the stuff that successful propaganda is made of.

Also in political and communication research, it has been widely recognized that some interpretations simply "stick", are "strong" or have "high fidelity", remarkably little is known to date why certain frames happen to resonate - and what exactly in a debate they resonate with. RECORD investigates how frame resonance functions. Looking at the career of different frames advanced in societies at war and in violent conflict, it seeks to identify key mechanisms that enable or counteract the emergence of resonant frames. Specifically, it investigates three main dimensions of frame resonance:

  • Epistemic frame resonance concerns the fidelity of frames in a society's shared knowledge: It depends on a match between the assumptions and beliefs constituting a frame, and the "facts" we believe to be ascertained and can easily call to mind at a given moment.
  • Normative frame resonance concerns the fidelity of frames in a society's basic values: It arises from the references a frame makes to what we accept as important and good goals and standards for evaluating things.
  • Instrumental frame resonance, finally, concerns the fidelity of frames in what a society wants to believe because it serves its interests: It may derive from specific objectives as well as from very basic interests such as the wish to pereive oneself and one's group in a positive light.

RECORD is a research project funded by the European Union 7th Framework Program. It is conducted by Dr. Christian Baden as a Marie Curie Fellowship at the Department of Communication and Journalism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. RECORD works in close coordination with the research group formed by Prof. Tamir Sheafer, and cooperates with the transnational INFOCORE project consortium, which investigates the role of media in violent conflicts. As a publicly funded research project, RECORD's materials and findings are made freely available to the public. That way, RECORD hopes to contribute to a more conscious, careful and responsible public debate, and improved resilience against the force of propaganda and incitement to violence. RECORD has commenced on 1 September 2014, and was completed on 31 August 2016.


RECORD has received funding from the European Union's
Seventh Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration
under Grant Agreement No. 627682, 1.9.2014 - 31.8.2016