Yilang Peng

Doctoral Candidate

Yilang Peng is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication. His research interest is at the intersection among visual communication, computational social science, and human-computer interaction.

Given the prevalence of visual content in today’s digital environment, one line of his research explores how communication research can benefit from the use of computational tools in analyzing visual data. For example, he is currently working on a research project that uses computer vision tools—such as facial recognition and computational aesthetics—to detect media bias in the visual representation of political candidates. His latest work, published in the Proceedings of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (ranked 1st in human-computer interaction), applied online experiments and computational linguistic analysis to investigate how the widely used photo filters could change viewers' perceptions of images.

As a former science writer, Peng is also interested in science and environmental communication. One of his studies, published in Public Understanding of Science, investigated how the journalistic practice of "false balance” in covering scientific controversies might shape viewers’ perceptions of uncertainty. Currently, he is working on a project that examines what factors contribute to the virality of science news articles on WeChat, focusing on what roles visual content can play and what makes female readers become more interested in STEM-related science stories.

Before joining Annenberg, Peng received his B.S. degrees in earth sciences and psychology from Peking University and M.A. degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Peng has worked for National Geographic (China), Guokr.com, Madison Commons, and The Why Files, primarily involved in science and environmental journalism. As a photographer, he has won several international awards, including American Aperture Awards, iPhone Photography Awards, and Smithsonian Photo Contest. He was nominated as the best 10 mobile photographers in China by Lofter.

Yilang Peng is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication. His research interest is at the intersection among visual communication, computational social science, and human-computer interaction.

Peng's Network

  • Digital Media and Social Networks
  • Health Communication
  • Media and Communication Effects
  • Media Institutions and Systems
  • Political Communication
  • Visual Communication
  • Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication
  • Center for Health Behavior and Communication Research
  • Working Group on Media Industries and Public Policy