CounterBalance is a quarterly seminar series on applied belief dynamics, focusing on issues such as misinformation, disinformation, cyberhate and social polarization. The intention of these meetings is two-fold. First, these seminars provide a clearinghouse for scholars to share and discuss their findings with practitioners and policy makers. Second, these seminars provide an opportunity to contextualize new work on belief dynamics within the broader scope of complexity science. CounterBalance is organized by the Santa Fe Institute and co-hosted by Siegel Family Endowment.
E Pluribus Unum in a Digitally Networked Era?
Deen Freelon is an associate professor at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media at the University of North Carolina and a principal researcher at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP). His theoretical interests address how ordinary citizens use social media and other digital communication technologies for political purposes, paying particular attention to how identity characteristics (e.g. race, gender, ideology) influence these uses. Methodologically, he is interested in how computational research techniques can be used to answer some of the most fundamental questions of communication science. Freelon has worked at the forefront of political communication and computational social science for over a decade, coauthoring some of the first communication studies to apply computational methods to social media data.
David Rand is the Erwin H. Schell Professor and Professor of Management Science and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT, the director of the Applied Cooperation Team, and an affiliate of the MIT Institute of Data, Systems, and Society, and the Initiative on the Digital Economy. Bridging the fields of cognitive science, behavioral economics, and social psychology, David’s research combines behavioral experiments run online and in the field with mathematical and computational models to understand people’s attitudes, beliefs, and choices. He focuses on illuminating why people believe and share misinformation and “fake news,” understanding political psychology and polarization, and promoting human cooperation.