Psychological and Brain Sciences Colloquium

Dartmouth Events

Psychological and Brain Sciences Colloquium

Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. Yale University

Friday, May 18, 2018
Moore B03
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

Please join us in Moore BO3 on Friday, May 18, 2018, at 4 p.m., as Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University, presents "Social Network Interventions."

Abstract:  Human beings choose their friends, and often their neighbors and co-workers, and they inherit their relatives; and each of the people to whom we are connected also does the same, such that, in the end, we humans assemble ourselves into face-to-face social networks.  Why do we do this?  How has natural selection shaped us socially in this regard?  And how might a deep understanding of human social network structure and function be used to intervene in the world to make it better?  Here, after reviewing some of our work on how our evolution has shaped our social networks, I will review our research describing three classes of interventions involving both offline and online networks that can help make the world better: (1) interventions that rewire the connections between people; (2) interventions that manipulate social contagion, facilitating the flow of desirable properties within groups; and (3) interventions that manipulate the position of groups of people within network structures.  I will illustrate what can be done using a variety of experiments in settings as diverse as fostering cooperation in networked groups online, to fostering health behavior change in developing world villages, to facilitating the diffusion of innovation or coordination in groups.  I will also focus on recent experiments with “hybrid systems” comprised of both humans and "dumb bots," involving simple artificial intelligence (AI) agents interacting in small groups.  By taking account of people's structural embeddedness in social networks, and by understanding social influence, it is possible to intervene in social systems to enhance desirable population-level properties as diverse as health, wealth, cooperation, coordination, and learning.

A reception will follow outside of Moore 202.

For more information, contact:
Michelle Powers

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.