Hosted by the Complex Human Data Hub, join Prof. Rob Goldstone from Indiana University as he discusses imitation and innovation in low-dimensional, spatial environments, and then extend this approach to high-dimensional and more abstract solution spaces.
Following herds and paving ways: The group dynamics of imitation and innovation
The 2023 Pip Pattison Oration is hosted by the Complex Human Data Hub, part of the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences.
What are the patterns that emerge when people in groups attempt to solve simple problems while taking advantage of the developing solutions of other people in their social network? Professor Rob Goldstone (Indiana University) will describe imitation and innovation in low-dimensional, spatial environments, and then extend this approach to high-dimensional and more abstract solution spaces.
Professor Goldstone’s human experiments and computer simulations point to an optimal level of diversity among group members’ solutions – too little diversity and needed exploration is impeded, but too much diversity prevents the spread of good solutions. More difficult problems are better solved by more diverse groups, as produced by restricting social networks or the amount of copying.
In a real-world extension of this work, he studied how parents in the United States name their babies. Using a historical database of the names given to children over the last century in the United States, he found that naming choices are influenced by both the frequency of a name in the general population, and increasingly by its “momentum” in the recent past. More broadly, Professor Goldstone considers collective patterns of diversity, problem space coverage, and group performance that arise when people interact – patterns that group members often do not understand or even perceive. Presenters Professor Rob Goldstone Robert Goldstone is Distinguished Professor in the Psychological and Brain Sciences department and Cognitive Science program at Indiana University. His research interests include concept learning and representation, perceptual learning, educational applications of cognitive science, decision making, collective behaviour, and computational modeling of human cognition. He won the 2000 APA Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology, and a 2004 Troland research award from the National Academy of Sciences. He was the executive editor of Cognitive Science from 2001-2005, Director of the Indiana University Cognitive Science Program from 2006-2011, and is current executive editor of Current Directions in Psychological Science. He has been elected as a fellow of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the Cognitive Science Society, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.