Andrea Baronchelli Talk

In early september, we have another great visitor, Andrea Baronchelli, who’s a faculty member at City University London. Andrea is a super-exciting young scientist with varied interests across complex systems science, and a collaborator on my recent Sapere Aude grant on influence in social systems. He will talk about a set of very cool experiment on the emergence of social conventions. Details below:
  • Date: September 3rd, 2015
  • Time: 11am
  • Location: Technical University of Denmark, Building 321, 1st floor lab space
  • Title: The Spontaneous Emergence of Social Conventions: An Experimental Study of Cultural Evolution
  • Abstract: How do shared conventions emerge in complex decentralised social systems? This question engages fields as diverse as linguistics, sociology, and cognitive science. Previous empirical attempts to solve this puzzle all presuppose that formal or informal institutions, such as incentives for global agreement, coordinated leadership, or aggregated information about the population, are needed to facilitate a solution. Evolutionary theories of social conventions, by contrast, hypothesise that such institutions are not necessary in order for social conventions to form. However, empirical tests of this hypothesis have been hindered by the difficulties of evaluating the real-time creation of new collective behaviours in large decentralised populations. Here, I will present experimental results—replicated at several scales—that demonstrate the spontaneous creation of universally adopted social conventions and show how simple changes in a population’s network structure can direct the dynamics of norm formation, driving human populations with no ambition for large scale coordination to rapidly evolve shared social conventions. I will also show that a simple model describes well the experimental results on different classes of social networks.
References:
Experiment: D. Centola and A. Baronchelli, PNAS 112, 1989 (2015)
Model: A. Baronchelli, M. Felici, V. Loreto, E. Caglioti and L. Steels, JSTAT P06014 (2006) (see also http://bit.ly/1U3L7YF )