Author Archive

SONIC papers presented at the XXXVII Sunbelt Conference in Beijing, China.


Three SONIC papers were presented at the XXXVII Sunbelt Conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA), held on May 30th, 2017 – June 4th, 2017 in Beijing, China.   Title: Higher Visibility, Better Participation: Peer Pressure Enabled by Enterprise Social Media. Authors: Hui Li (Fudan University), Xiao He (Fudan University), Yun Huang (Northwestern University), Noshir Contractor (Northwestern University), Yunjie Xu (Fudan University), Lihua Huang (Fudan University) Title: Team Dynamics in Spaceflight Analogs: Shared Mental Models, Informal Social Roles, and Team Viability and Conflict in the Human Exploration Research Analog (HERA). Authors: Jeffrey C Johnson (University of Florida), Michael Zurek (University of Florida), Noshir Contractor (Northwestern University), Leslie DeChurch (Northwestern University) Title: Capability, Role, or Relation: Collaboration in Dota 2 Combat Teams. Authors: Bo Xu (Northeastern University, China), Julia Neidhardt (Technische Universitat Wien), Yun Huang (Northwestern University), Noshir Contractor (Northwestern University)

Nebula – a finalist for the IMS Global Consortium Learning Impact Award


Nebula was selected as a finalist for the IMS Global Consortium Learning Impact Award that was held May 16-19 2017. Most of the competition was professional educational tech applications. Congratulations to Jackie Ng and Noshir Contractor – SONIC contributors to Nebula! Nebula is a Northwestern alternative to the standard Canvas discussion board.  Nebula is a hybrid type of learning tool that at once offers analytic visualization of complex discussion dynamics and invites participation in that dynamic by having users contribute posts and comments directly to the discussion graph. Its visual approach is very intuitive to understand and use, promoting more rapid and frequent student engagement in the discussions.

Leslie DeChurch will present at the Mars Mission Social Sciences Workshop


On may 30th, 2017 Leslie DeChurch will present at the Mars Mission Social Sciences Workshop at the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute in Cape Canaveral, FL. The title of her paper, co-authored with Noshir Contractor and Michael Schultz, is SCALE: Shared cognitive architecture for long-term exploration.

SONIC members presenting at the ICA


Noshir Contractor and two SONIC graduate students: Diego Gomez Zara, and Zachary Gibson are going to present at the 67th Annual Conference of the International Communication Association (ICA) on May 25-29 in San Diego, CA. Please follow the link for the presentations’ abstracts.

Noshir Contractor presented at the UC Davis Institute for Social Sciences


On May 18, 2017 SONIC Director Noshir Contractor gave a Gerald P. Mohrmann Memorial Lecture on Leveraging Computational Social Science to Address Grand Societal Challenges. The increased access to big data about social phenomena in general, and network data in particular, has been a windfall for social scientists. But these exciting opportunities must be accompanied with careful reflection on how big data can motivate new theories and methods. Using examples of his research in the area of networks, Contractor will argue that Computational Social Science serves as the foundation to unleash the intellectual insights locked in big data. More importantly, he will illustrate how these insights offer social scientists in general, and social network scholars in particular, an unprecedented opportunity to engage more actively in monitoring, anticipating and designing interventions to address grand societal challenges.

Brain connectivity dynamics during social interaction reflect social network structure


Ralf Schmälzlea,b, Matthew Brook O’Donnellb , Javier O. Garciac , Christopher N. Casciob , Joseph Bayerd , Danielle S. Bassette,f, Jean M. Vettelc,e,g, and Emily B. Falkb,1 a Department of Communication, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824; b Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104; c Human Research and Engineering Directorate, US Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005; d School of Communication, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210; e Department of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104; f Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104; and g Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106 Social ties are crucial for humans. Disruption of ties through social exclusion has a marked effect on our thoughts and feelings; however, such effects can be tempered by broader social network resources. Here, we use fMRI data acquired from 80 male adolescents to investigate how social exclusion modulates functional connectivity within and across brain networks involved in social pain and understanding the mental states of others (i.e., mentalizing). Furthermore, using objectively logged friendship network data, we examine how individual variability in brain reactivity to social exclusion relates to ...

Noshir Contractor and Leslie DeChurch presented at SIOP 2017: Exploring New Frontiers: Building Better Teams on Earth and Beyond


On Friday, April 28th, Noshir and Leslie presented a paper Exploring New Frontiers: Building Better Teams on Earth and Beyond in a symposium at the 2017 SIOP conference in Orlando, Florida. Jacqueline Ng, Brennan Antone, Zachary Gibson, Suzanne T. Bell, Leslie A. DeChurch, Noshir Contractor: Crew Recommender for Effective Work in Space: CREWS The prospect of sending a team to Mars by the year 2030 challenges organizational scientists to build new conceptual lenses and leverage advanced analytic and computational methods to hasten understanding and prediction of team performance. This symposium showcases 5 recent advances, all inspired by the challenge of space exploration.

Noshir Contractor gave the opening keynote address at the 5th Annual Network Leadership Training Academy


Noshir Contractor gave the opening keynote address at the 5th Annual Network Leadership Training Academy, titled  “Building and Leveraging Powerful Social Networks” on April 26th. The Academy is organized by the Center on Network Science at the University of Colorado, Denver. For more details, see

Welcome back on campus, Noshir!


We welcome back Noshir Contractor to the Northwestern University campus after spending the 2017 Winter Quarter as the Distinguished WTO Visiting Scholar at the Center for Work, Technology, & Organizations (WTO) in the Department of Management Science & Engineering at Stanford University’s School of Engineering. For more details, please see here.

SONIC PhD candidate Jackie Ng’s paper judged as one of the best accepted papers at AOM 2017


“Teaming at the Limit: Enhancing Team Effectiveness with Enterprise Social Media Affordances”, a paper written by SONIC lab member, Jackie Ng, in collaboration with Noshir Contractor, Paul Leonardi & Leslie DeChurch, was judged to be one of the best accepted papers (top 10%) in the 2017 Academy of Management Meeting taking place in Atlanta Georgia, August 4-8. This high honor entitles the paper to be published in the Proceedings of the 2017 AoM Meeting.