Author Archive



Generative Modeling of Human Behavior and Social Interactions Using Abductive Analysis Abstract: Abduction is an inference approach that uses data and observations to identify plausible (and preferably, best) explanations for phenomena. Applications of abduction (e.g., robotics, genetics, image understanding) have largely been devoid of human behavior. Here, we devise and execute an iterative abductive analysis process that is driven by the social sciences: behaviors and interactions among groups of human subjects. One goal is to understand intra-group cooperation and its effect on fostering collective identity. We build an online game platform; perform and analyze controlled laboratory experiments; form hypotheses; build, exercise, and evaluate network-based agent-based models; and evaluate the hypotheses in multiple abductive iterations, improving our understanding as the process unfolds. While the experimental results are of interest, the paper’s thrust is methodological, and indeed establishes the potential of iterative abductive looping for the (computational) social sciences. Ren, Y., Cedeno-Mieles, V., Hu, Z., Deng, X., Adiga, A., Barrett, C. L., et al. (2018). Generative Modeling of Human Behavior and Social Interactions Using Abductive Analysis (pp. 1–8). Presented at the International Conference on Advances in Social Network Analysis and Mining, 2009. ASONAM ’09.  

How Can Social Science Become More Solutions-Oriented?


A conversation between researchers at Kellogg and Microsoft explores how behavioral science can best be applied:

Seniors’ usage of mobile social network sites


Seniors’ usage of mobile social network sites: Applying theories of innovation diffusion and uses and gratifications Myung Ja Kim, Choong-Ki Lee, Noshir S. Contractor Abstract: Seniors are substantial users of mobile devices to communicate and participate in mobile social network sites (MSNS) to interact, but there has been little theoretically based understanding of what motivates seniors’ use of MSNS for tourism. To bridge the gap, this study applied the theory of the diffusion of innovations as well as the theory of uses and gratifications to explain why seniors use MSNS. Key explanatory variables included site attachment and authentic experience. Results indicate that the effect of innovation diffusion on authentic experience was greater than on site attachment. The effect of uses and gratifications was also greater on authentic experience than on site attachment. In addition, this study examined the moderating role between purchase and non-purchase groups. The effects of uses and gratifications on site attachment and authentic experience were stronger in the purchase group than in the nonpurchase group, while on the other hand, the effects of innovation diffusion on site attachment and authentic experience were stronger in the non-purchase group than ...

SONIC Lab presented at Academy of Management 2018


On August 11-14, Professor Noshir Contractor and SONIC Alumna Jacqueline Ng presented at the 2018 Academy of Management Conference held in Chicago, Illinois. Contractor, N. S. Some Assembly Required: Teaming in the 21st Century. Paper presented at the Innovations in Teaching Teamwork PDW Workshop Contractor, N. S. Multi-theoretical multilevel models of networks. Paper presented at the Introduction to Social Network Analysis PDW Workshop. Mukherjee, A., Xiao, P. & Wang, L., Contractor, N. S. Does the opinion of the crowd predict success?  Paper presented at the Crowd and Cloud Session.

IIT Madras to collaborate with Northwestern University for research in data science


From the Economic Times: Sreeradha Basu Aug 14, 2018, 03.39 PM IST IIT Madras has tied up with Northwestern University, US, for carrying out broad-based research collaboration in data science, web science, network science and computational social science. The institutes signed an MoU recently to launch a joint project on the development of features for three web-based software platforms that focus on network-based approaches to facilitate team assembly and processes. Professor Ravindra Gettu, dean (Industrial Consultancy and Sponsored Research), IIT Madras, and Dr. Jonathan Holloway, Provost, Northwestern University, U.S., signed the MoU on behalf of their respective Institutions. Speaking about the importance of this collaboration, Prof. B. Ravindran, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Madras, and one of the principal collaborators in this project, said, “The SONIC research group at Northwestern University is a world leader in the field of network science. This MoU will allow us to collaborate closely and work on problems that will have a global impact” Further, Prof Ravindran added, “The Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and AI at IIT Madras has a significant expertise in the area of network science and this collaboration is the first of our initiatives to reach out ...

Research Lab Manager Position


The SONIC research group and ATLAS laboratory at Northwestern University invite applications for a research lab manager to support lab directors Noshir Contractor (SONIC) and Leslie DeChurch (ATLAS) on administrative and operational aspects of their research portfolios. The lab manager will be responsible for supporting a variety of lab operations, including reporting and compliance requirements, communication of findings through digital displays and online materials, and organization and updating of research materials and files. In addition, the lab manager will assist in training new lab members and other research related activities. Responsibilities: Preparation and submission of grant reports and other administrative documents needed for compliance. Preparation of materials to promote our research on digital displays and lab websites. Regularly update lab databases tracking publications, presentations, personnel, and other information needed for laboratory operations. Oversee IRB procedures and maintain confidentiality of participant information; ensures compliance with institutional, state and federal regulatory policies, procedures, directives and mandates. Miscellaneous laboratory management tasks such as ordering supplies and maintaining equipment. Required Competencies: Strong project management skills with exceptional attention to detail. Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Outstanding interpersonal skills and ability to maintain positive relationships with various stakeholders. Strong time management skills with a proven ability to multitask and to prioritize activities to successfully complete projects ...

SONIC Speaker Series 2017-2018


PDF version of the schedule: SONIC Speaker Series 2017-2018

Esther Sackett – December 7, 2pm


The SONIC Speaker Series presents Esther Sackett Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University Expertise Awareness in Multi-Organizational Collaboration: The Role of Goal Awareness SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Esther Sackett of the Northwestern University. Dr. Sackett will speak on Thursday, December 7th, 2017 at 2 PM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-483. Please contact Dr. Michael Schultz with any questions.    Abstract: Multistakeholder alliances typically have dual purposes that are often in tension – 1) pooling knowledge and resources toward a collaborative goal, and 2) engaging in knowledge transfer by leveraging knowledge and resources for each individual organization’s benefit. However, research has also demonstrated that these dual purposes are also quite intertwined, as members’ sustained engagement in the alliance over time depends on the perceived value of participation in terms of meeting their own organization’s needs. Inherent in the structure of multistakeholder alliances and their dual purposes is an implicit assumption: that the distributed expertise in a multistakeholder alliance is available for the pursuit of both collaborative goals and knowledge transfer. However, each of these goals may actually require access to ...

Michael D. Siciliano – November 13, 10am


SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Michael D. Siciliano of the Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago. Prof. Siciliano speak on Monday, November 13, 2017 at 10:00 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-489. Please contact Dr. Michael Schultz with any questions.

Christoph Riedl – October 23, 10am


SONIC Lab is proud to welcome Christoph Riedl of the D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Prof. Riedl will present a talk on Monday, October 23, 2017 at 10:00 AM in Frances Searle Building, Room 1-489. Please contact Dr. Michael Schultz with any questions.