Study: Countering hate on social media

The rise of online hate speech is a disturbing, growing trend in countries around the world, with serious psychological consequences and the potential to impact, and even contribute to, real-world violence. A new paper offers a framework for studying the dynamics of online hate and counter speech, and offers the first large-scale classification of millions of instances such interactions on Twitter.

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The Conversation: Election polls are more accurate if they ask participants how others will vote

In a post-election op-ed for The Conversation, SFI Professor Mirta Galesic and Wändi Bruine de Bruin at USC Dornsife describe their polling research with colleagues Henrik Olssen, SFI External Professor, and Drazen Prelec at MIT. The team found that if polls start to ask questions about how people think members of their social circle or state will vote, they tend to predict results with far greater accuracy. 

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First virtual Undergraduate Complexity Research Program a success

It takes patience and plenty of good-will to transform a dynamic and intensive in-person summer program into a virtual experience that offers genuine and impactful connections. With the support of SFI Professor and Program Director Chris Kempes and Education Program Manager Carla Shedivy, ten students around the U.S. and 11 SFI researcher-mentors proved up to the task.

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The rhythm of change: What a drum-beat experiment reveals about cultural evolution

Living organisms aren’t the only things that evolve over time. Cultural practices change, too, and in recent years social scientists have taken a keen interest in understanding this cultural evolution. A new experiment used drum-beats to investigate the role that environment plays on cultural shifts, confirming that different environments do indeed give rise to different cultural patterns.

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Science Club explores puzzles of politics and voting

If voters gravitate toward the center of the political spectrum, why are the parties drifting farther apart? At the latest meeting of SFI’s Virtual Science Club on Sept. 16, Vicky Chuqiao Yang, an SFI Omidyar Fellow and Peters Hurst Scholar, showed 40 attendees how dynamic mathematical models can help us make sense of this and other puzzles of politics and voting

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Research News Briefs, Fall 2020

Research News Briefs highlight new studies from the SFI community published in the last quarter. The following briefs appeared in SFI's Fall 2020 Parallax newsletter. 

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Have you no humanities?

SFI will soon launch a new “NEH institute,” Foundations and Applications of Humanities Analytics, to introduce early-career humanities scholars to new ways of studying culture with a wide range of computational tools.

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Joshua Epstein receives top award for social simulation

The European Social Simulation Association (ESSA) honored SFI External Professor Joshua Epstein (New York University) with its most prestigious award — The Rosaria Conte Award for Outstanding Social Simulation. A pioneer and world leader in agent-based modeling, Epstein was among the first scientists to use bottom-up simulation to replicate the statistical macrostructures seen in complex social systems. 

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New book: Calling Bullshit

In their book, Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World, former SFI External Professor Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin D. West unpack the ease with which misinformation has leached into every corner of society and call for a healthy dose of skepticism in science, media, and everyday life.

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'Pandemic Pod' recreates SFI experience

This year, the annual postdocs’ gathering is a retreat not from SFI’s day-to-day calm, but to a recreation of it. Sheltered by strict safety protocols, the 'Pandemic Pod' is taking place in person.

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