Social Contagion

The rea­son that I am inter­est­ed in behav­ioral con­ta­gions is that I firm­ly believe that if we can under­stand how behav­iors spread in a social net­work and thus in a pop­u­la­tion from per­son to per­son to per­son to per­son, that we could poten­tial­ly pro­mote behav­iors like…condom use, or tolerance.

Studying Harm

One of the most recent par­a­digms that we’ve used to try to get this under exper­i­men­tal con­trol is to ask peo­ple to act out pre­tend harm­ful actions. So for instance, we’ll give them a dis­abled hand­gun. We’ll show them that it’s fake. That it couldn’t pos­si­bly harm a fly. We put it in their hands and then we ask them to shoot us in the head.

Molecular Mechanisms of Reward and Aversion

Why do we do the things that we do? Why do we some­times choose to be lov­ing par­ents and oth­er times engage in irra­tional self-destructive behav­iors? What dri­ves us to some­times be altru­is­tic and oth­er times make deci­sions that real­ly threat­en our very sur­vival? Well, the answer lies in our brains. Our brains evolved to ensure that we repeat behav­iors that will lead to our survival. 

The Conversation #4 — Colin Camerer

We know very lit­tle about com­plex finan­cial sys­tems and how sys­temic risk, as it’s called, is com­put­ed and how you would man­age poli­cies. And if you look back at the finan­cial cri­sis, you can either say, as many econ­o­mists do, It all had to do with badly-designed rules,” which may be part of the sto­ry; it’s cer­tain­ly part of the sto­ry. Or it may have to do with the inter­ac­tion of those rules and human nature, like mort­gage bro­ker greed, opti­mism… And you see it not just in indi­vid­u­als who now have hous­es and fore­clo­sure, but at the high­est levels.

Machines That Can Read Human Emotions

The face is a con­stant flow of facial expres­sions. We react and emote to exter­nal stim­uli all the time. And it is exact­ly this flow of expres­sions that is the observ­able win­dow to our inner self. Our emo­tions, our inten­tions, atti­tudes, moods. Why is this impor­tant? Because we can use it in a very wide vari­ety of applications.

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