Jazlyn Dumas is awarded AI Fellowship

The University of Maine’s Center for Undergraduate Research has awarded two MBS students a UMaine Artificial Intelligence Fellowship. Jazlyn Dumas, a marketing major, and Jonathan Libby, a finance major, were awarded $1,200 for their research.

Supported by the Office of Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, the Center for Undergraduate Research created the UMaine Artificial Intelligence (AI) Fellowships. The initiative’s mission is to develop transformative solutions through innovative and coordinated research, education, and strategic partnerships. These solutions should enhance the social and economic well-being of the citizens of Maine and beyond.

Jazlyn Dumas, Class of 2021

Jazlyn Dumas’s research surrounds consumer behavior on social media. Her thesis for the Artificial Intelligence Fellowship is titled “The Importance of a Checkmark: An Investigation Into the Perceptions of a Social Media Verification and its Effects on Consumer Trust.”

“On Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, accounts can be “verified” by the platform,” Dumas explains. Verification is symbolized by a small checkmark that appears on the account’s landing page and is ostensibly for credibility purposes. “For example, Instagram will verify a celebrity’s account to make it clear it is the authentic presence of that person.”

As social media is increasingly being used as a promotional tool, Dumas wants to determine how people perceive verification in association with social media influences in a paid partnership. “Specifically, if a verified influencer is chosen to advertise a brand or product, will consumers view them as more trustworthy because they are verified?” she adds. “Millions of dollars are spent on paid partnerships with influencers every year. But there has been very little research on verification’s impact on trust.”

The Center for Undergraduate Research and the Honors College have awarded Dumas research funding. Her MBS faculty advisor, Dr. Stefano Tijerina, commends Dumas’ efforts as part of the MBS Honors Student Committee. “Jazlyn, one of the first students to join the committee, is proof of the effectiveness of our efforts,” he says.