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You are invited to attend the System Dynamics Seminar being held on Friday, November 17th from 12:30-2:00pm EST in the Jay W. Forrester conference room, E62-450, or via Zoom: https://mit.zoom.us/j/98105285349 (Password: SDFA23). Our guest speaker will be Michael Macy (Cornell University) presenting The Shallowness of Deep Division (see abstract and brief bio below, announcement attached). Lunch will be provided to those attending in person and a reminder email will be sent out closer to the date.
If you would also like to schedule a 30-minute 1:1 meeting with him before or after the seminar, please fill out the following Doodle poll by COB Monday, November 13th and I will confirm times and location with a calendar invite: https://doodle.com/meeting/participate/id/bkoKOM6b. Please notify me if you need to meet over Zoom instead.
Computational models reveal a tipping point in political polarization beyond which there is a potentially irreversible phase transition with two properties: 1) opinions become aligned across seemingly disparate political and cultural dimensions, and 2) existential threats to shared interests (like a lethal pandemic, catastrophic global warming, or aggression by a foreign adversary) have a divisive rather than unifying effect. This unraveling of the social fabric suggests partisan divisions that are deeply rooted in opposing ideologies. However, an online experiment suggests it may be the other way around. What appear to be irreconcilable differences in an increasingly polarized society may have arisen through a tipping dynamic that might just as easily have tipped the other way but for the luck of the draw among early movers. If so, the depth of the social fissure points to the shallowness of disagreements between tribal combatants whose vitriolic hostility is substantively unwarranted.
About the Presenter
Michael Macy is Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences at Cornell and Director of the Social Dynamics Lab. With support from the U.S. National Science Foundation, Google, Yahoo! Research, DARPA, IARPA, and the Korean National Research Foundation, his research team has used computational models, online laboratory experiments, and digital traces of device-mediated interaction to explore familiar but enigmatic social patterns, including network “wormholes,” circadian rhythms on Twitter and Spotify, racial discrimination on Airbnb, lifestyle politics, the polarization of science, network mobility, and partisan unpredictability. His research has been published in Science, PNAS, Science Advances, Nature Human Behaviour, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, and Annual Review of Sociology.