Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

SONIC-collaborated paper to be presented at the 3rd Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Leadership Symposium


A paper, co-authored by Noshir Contractor will be presented at the 3rd Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Leadership Symposium, to be held on May 10-12th in Chania, Greece. The Symposium theme is “What leaders actually do.” Mesmer-Magnus, J., Niler, A., DeChurch, L.A., & Contractor, N.S. (2018, May). Working and leading the way to Mars: How work affects shared leadership. Paper to be presented at the 3rd Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Leadership Symposium, Chania, Greece.

Diego Gómez-Zará presents at Kellogg Enlace


On January 30th, 2018, the Ph.D. Student Diego Gómez-Zará presented at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. This talk was organized by the program ENLACE Diego’s talk was titled “The Role of Social Movements in Twitter: Evidence from the Chilean Student Movement”. He presented the current role of organizations in social media. In the digital era, organizations have become active actors, where they must motivate, interact, and engage with their audiences permanently.

Noshir Contractor attends an SBS Decadal Workshop on Workforce Development


On January 24th, 2018, Noshir attended a workshop on Workforce Development and Intelligence Analysis, designed to gather information for the Decadal Survey of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Applications to National Security.

Population structured by witchcraft beliefs


Anthropologists have long argued that fear of victimization through witchcraft accusations promotes cooperation in small-scale societies. Others have argued that witchcraft beliefs undermine trust and therefore reduce social cohesion. However, there are very few, if any, quantified empirical examples demonstrating how witchcraft labels can structure cooperation in real human communities. Here we show a case from a farming community in China where people labelled zhu were thought capable of supernatural activity, particularly poisoning food. The label was usually applied to adult women heads of household and often inherited down the female line. We found that those in zhuhouseholds were less likely to give or receive gifts or farm help to or from non-zhu households; nor did they have sexual partnerships or children with those in non-zhu households. However, those in zhuhouseholds did preferentially help and reproduce with each other. Although the tag is common knowledge to other villagers and used in cooperative and reproductive partner choice, we found no evidence that this assortment was based on cooperativeness or quality. We favour the explanation that stigmatization originally arose as a mechanism to harm female competitors. Once established, fear that the trait is transmissible may help explain the persistence of this deep-rooted cultural belief. Source: Nature

Scale-free Networks Are Rare


Recently Aaron Clauset and his colleague share their new study: “Scale-free networks are rare”. In this study, they found scale-free network structure is not so prevalent based on their statistical analyses of almost 1000 network datasets across different domains. In particular, their results indicate only 4% of the datasets showing the strongest-possible evidence of scale-free structure and 52% demonstrating the weakest-possible evidence. Additionally, this study has invoked intense conversations over Twitter. For instance, Laszlo Barabasi retweeted Aaron Caluset’s tweet, saying “Every 5 years someone is shocked to re-discover that a pure power law does not fit many networks. True: Real networks have predictable deviations. Hence forcing a pure power law on these is like…fitting a sphere to the cow. Sooner or later the hoof will stick out.” Link to the paper: Link to Barabasi’s retweet:

SONIC welcomes Kitty Cheung


We are delighted to welcome Kitty Cheung as a post-baccalaureate researcher working with SONIC and ATLAS research groups at Northwestern University. Kitty received her undergrad at Northeastern University where she worked with Professor Brooke Foucault-Welles, a SONIC alum. During her six months with us, Kitty will research how startup teams assemble and how this impacts their future success.

Paper accepted for publication in the journal “Complexity”


A paper co-authored by SONIC’s Yun Huang and Noshir Contractor was accepted for publication in a special issue of the journal Complexity on “Emerging Applications of Complex Networks.” Sha, Z., Huang, Y., Fu, J.S., Wang, M., Fu, Y., Contractor, N., & Chen, W. (in press). A Network-Based Approach to Modeling and Predicting Product Co-Consideration Relations. Special issue of the journal Complexity on “Emerging Applications of Complex Networks.”

SIOP 2018


ATLAS and SONIC had a 100% acceptance on paper submissions to the upcoming SIOP 2018 Conference, held in Chicago on April 19-21. A synopsis of ATLAS & SONIC research at SIOP 2018.

A Mechanistic Model of Human Network Recall


Recently, Omodei, Brashears, and Arenas published a paper about describing a mechanistic model of human network recall and demonstrate its sufficiency for capturing human recall behavior based on experimental data. They found that human recall is based on accurate recall of a hub of high degree actors and also uses compression heuristics (i.e., schemata simplifying the encoding and recall of social information) for both structural and affective information. The original paper is here:

SONIC Speaker Series 2017-2018


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