Department of Computational Social Science Seminar -Harrison Dissertation Proposal Defense

Monday, May 20 - 11:00 a.m.
LOCATION: 162 Research Hall

Dissertation Proposal: Cognitively Richer Opinion Dynamics with Exogenous Shocks

Joseph Harrison
PhD Student
Computational Social Science
George Mason University

Abstract: Existing models of opinion dynamics treat agents as little more than particles interacting in a vacuum. This proposal describes a general model for adding cognitive elements to agent behavior and incorporating context by way of exogenous shocks. The model will be employed in three different applications: public support for an insurrection; adoption of hockey helmets in the NHL as an instance of norm adoption via opinion change; and attitudes toward STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) among school-aged youth. This work is expected to yield better opinion dynamics models and, in the case of the STEM project, actionable policy suggestions.