Tobias Schröder (Potsdam University for Applied Sciences, Germany) : Multi-level mechanisms of social cognition and interaction: Theory integration with computational models
Date : lundi 3 février à 14h.
Lieu : salle 5028.
Abstract: I will address two deficiencies of social-cognition research. The first is an individualistic bias; i.e., a relative disregard of the importance of social structure and cultural embeddedness for acting in the social world. The second is lack of coherent theoretical integration across experimental paradigms in comparison to scientific disciplines such as sociology, biology, or physics with more unified knowledge systems, which are therefore more reliable. Drawing on complex-systems tools, I propose a network-in-networks approach to mitigate these challenges. At the level of the individual, we can construe social cognition as resulting from the properties of cognitive-affective belief networks. At the level of the group or even society, we can use network theory to model the flows of information between individuals that generate synchronisation or polarisation of belief systems through mechanisms of motivated cognition and homophily. I will illustrate the merits of the approach with two research examples. The first one is at the individual level and more basic, showing how network models can explain different paradigms of priming research. The second example is more applied and bridges the individual-society levels, showing how network models can explain and to some extent predict attitudes towards sustainability innovations in different social groups.
Bio: Tobias Schröder is a professor of sustainable urban development at Potsdam University of Applied Sciences. In his research, he combines social psychology with complex-systems theory to better understand societal transformations in the context of climate change and an emergent sustainable society. He obtained his PhD in Psychology from Humboldt University in Berlin in 2009. Prior to his appointment in Potsdam he held postdoc positions at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Waterloo (Canada). His work has been published in major journals of Psychology, Sociology, and Computer Science (e.g., Psychological Review, Cognitive Science, PNAS, American Sociological Review, Technological Forecasting and Social Change).