Center for Complex System and New Technologies

TeamResearchPublicationsScientific Collaboration

Zespół Ośrodka Badania Układów Złożonych i Nowych Technologii

Main research areas

Dynamics of social influence. Our flagship research area is social influence – within the paradigm of dynamical social psychology we analyze social influence both from the perspective of individuals and the mechanisms of their interaction as well as from the systemic perspective which allows to track and understand the processes of opinion dynamics in social systems. Our new theoretical proposal – Regulatory Theory of Social Influence – enhances the widely cited Dynamic Social Impact Theory with novel understanding of self-regulation mechanisms that make social influence an optimization process both for individuals and social groups.

Recent publications in this area:

Nowak, A., & Vallacher, R. R. (2019). Nonlinear societal change: The perspective of dynamical systems. British Journal of Social Psychology, 58(1), 105–128. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12271
Nowak, A., Ziembowicz, K., Zabłocka-Bursa, A., & Bartkowski, W. (2015). Wpływ społeczny z perspektywy obiektu wpływu–teoria i modele symulacyjne. Psychologia Społeczna, 10(3 (34)).

Nowak, A., et al. (in preparation). Target in Control. Springer.

Modelling and computer simulations of social processes. Modelling of social systems is the paradigm of choice for much of the research carried out by CCSNT. Agent based and network models of social systems help us understand how psychological mechanisms governing the behaviour of individuals translate into system level processes.

Recent publications in this area:

Nowak, A., Gelfand, M. J., Borkowski, W., Cohen, D., & Hernandez, I. (2016). The evolutionary basis of honor cultures. Psychological science, 27(1), 12-24.

Rychwalska, A., & Roszczyńska-Kurasińska, M. (2018). Polarization on social media: when group dynamics leads to societal divides. In Proceedings of the 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

New Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and social processes. Our systemic approach to social processes proves indispensable when analysing the societal changes spurred by the ubiquitous spread of new information technologies – a multi-method approach based on Big Data analysis and computer modelling enables us to better understand the social dynamics of new media.

Recent publications in this area:

Pitt, J., Rychwalska, A., Roszczynska-Kurasinska, M., & Nowak, A. (2019). Democratizing Platforms for Social Coordination. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 38(1), 43–50. https://doi.org/10.1109/MTS.2019.2894459

Ziembowicz, K., & Nowak, A. (2018). Prosody of Text Communication? How to Induce Synchronization and Coherence in Chat Conversations. International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, 1-10.

Nowak, A., Lukowicz, P., & Horodecki, P. (2018). Assessing Artificial Intelligence for Humanity: Will AI be the Our Biggest Ever Advance? or the Biggest Threat [Opinion]. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 37(4), 26-34.

Rychwalska, A., & Roszczynska-Kurasinska, M. (2017). Value sensitive design for peer production systems: mediating social interactions. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 36(3), 48-55.

Synchronization in biological and social systems. In systems composed of many interacting elements coordination of activity is the crucial mechanism that enables function to arise. From neural cells in the brain, through diadic interactions up to the functioning of whole societies, synchronization of dynamics is a phenomenon that inevitably occurs before the systems can perfom any function.

Recent publications in this area:

Biesaga, M., Motyka, P., & Nowak, A. (2018). The Effects of Synchronization With Either Joyful or Angry People on Perception of an Emotionally Neutral Person. Social Psychological Bulletin, 13, e26821.

Nowak, A., Vallacher, R. R., Zochowski, M., & Rychwalska, A. (2017). Functional synchronization: The emergence of coordinated activity in human systems. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 945.

Nowak, A., Vallacher, R. R., Praszkier, R., Rychwalska, A., & Zochowski, M. (in preparation) In Synch. Springer.

Research Projects

SMART – The mechanisms that shape Social Media and their impact on Society

Funding agency: European Comission (Tender)

Consortium: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche CNR (lider), University of Warsaw, PlusValue, Human Ecosystems Relazioni HER and Catchy SRL.

Funding period: 2018-2019

Since the appearance of Facebook and Twitter, the impact of social networks on the way people consume, produce and interact with information has grown exponentially. This affected the habits and behaviour of people – and particularly of younger generations – in the way they consume and interact with information. The aim of this proposal is to study the mechanisms that shape social media and their impact on society and try to respond to the key challenges posed by the increasingly broad and diverse community of stakeholders interested in this topic, including researchers, policy makers, regulators, journalists, media companies (traditional and new), industry, civil society organizations and citizens. There are two main objectives of the project: understanding how information spreads on social media and understanding the emergence of narratives and change of behaviour in the age of social media.

Quality in online peer production communities – analyzing the impact of social structure, procedures and participant commitment

Funding agency: National Science Center, Opus 14 call

PI: dr Agnieszka Rychwalska

Funding period: 2018-2020

Wikipedia is a prime example of an online community that collaboratively produces knowledge artifacts for anyone to use. What fascinates us as social scientists is that some online communities – built from enthusiast not seeking financial gains but simply enjoying common work – incredibly deliver products of high quality. What is it that makes some succeed and others fail? How can we support such peer production communities so that they can give us more of their interesting and useful products and services? To answer these questions we will take a closer look at editors of the Wikipedia that voluntarily join WikiProjects – sub-communities that look after articles on specific topics, for example, video games or movies. We will check how different WikiProjects organize their work – how they divide the tasks and check quality. We hope that we can find a connection between how online communities organize their work and the quality of their products. This knowledge can help us design novel technological solutions – for example, new functionalities for social interaction platforms – and can support communities of committed volunteers deliver the products that serve us all.

Przestrzenny wymiar transmisji kulturowej melodii ludowych – analiza statystyczna i obliczeniowa melodii ze zbiorów Oskara Kolberga

Funding agency: National Science Center, Preludium 15 call

PI: mgr Rafał Miśta

Historical oral traditions are difficult to analyze – they relatively rarely leave direct traces in material culture. The study of cultural evolution, therefore, requires finding and analyzing even indirect information about how the old traditions have formed and transformed. The subject of my project is to study the historical oral tradition in the form of transmission of folk tunes. An indirect insight into this picture is given by the Oskar Kolberg collection, numbering about 10,000 various music records. The collection gives two pieces of information that should allow us to answer not only what the folk music was in different regions of Poland in the 19th century, but also to indirectly infer what mechanisms of its evolution were. On the one hand, it provides records of different variants of the same melodies (the information about melodic variation), and on the other, it gives information about geographical locations of the places from which these variants came. The variation of cultural traits is a derivative of their transformations that took place during their transmissions. In turn in a world without electricity, the geographical distance was strongly associated with the frequency of cultural contacts or the length of the chains of cultural diffusion. The purpose of my project is to test what can be said about the evolution of folk music, taking into account to a larger extent than in the current research studies, the spatial dimension of how oral traditions have been transmitted.
To answer this question, I want to create a database matching the selected notations of tunes of the Kolberg’s collection with the places from which they were supposed to come. Next, I will use quantitative measures related to various musical characteristics, statistical methods applied, among others, by biologists to study the diversity and evolution of living organisms, and a computer simulation method. The latter allows checking how various assumptions about the mechanisms of cultural transmission are reflected in the frequency and spatial distribution of cultural traits. Having an image of the spatial differentiation of variants of folk tunes from Kolberg’s time, one can try to find those assumptions and mechanisms that could form such a picture, and thus indirectly answer how the folk music could have evolved.

Recently finished projects

EFESEIIS: Enabling the flourishing and evolution of social entrepreneurship for innovative and inclusive societies, 2013-2016 (Workpackage PI – Ryszard Praszkier)

EFESEIIS was a research project supported by the Seventh Framework Programme and funded by the European Commission. It produced new knowledge aimed at supporting individuals, authorities or organizations that are involved or are willing to involve themselves in the social and solidarity-based economy. It aimed at providing a better understanding of Social Entrepreneurship using thorough analysis of data gathered in 10 European countries. EFESEIIS involved around 1100 stakeholders – from social entrepreneurs, policy makers, financial organizations, and local authorities to individuals – in its research activities. http://www.fp7-efeseiis.eu/

Regulatory Theory of Social Influence, 2012 – 2017 (PI – A. Nowak)

The main aim of the project was to construct a novel, testable theory of social influence understood not as a tool to manipulate others but rather as a natural regulatory mechanism that optimizes group activity. The majority of research on social influence has adopted the perspective of the benefit to the source. In this view, influence is a way of achieving power and control of others. In contrast to this approach, we adopt the perspective of the target. From this perspective, to be socially influenced may be desired and actively sought by individuals. Social influence processes enable those being influenced (the targets of influence) to use the knowledge and processing capacities of sources of influence to optimize their own functioning. In essence, from the perspective of the target, social influence increases their ability to function within their group, and indirectly of the group as well.

In the project we have carried out a series of experimental studies – investigating social influence on the level of dyads, small and large social groups – and computer simulations. The results of the studies have been published in national and international scientific journals and a mongraph to be published by Springer.

Recent publications

Pitt, J., Rychwalska, A., Roszczynska-Kurasinska, M., & Nowak, A. (2019). Democratizing Platforms for Social Coordination. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 38(1), 43–50. https://doi.org/10.1109/MTS.2019.2894459

Nowak, A., & Vallacher, R. R. (2019). Nonlinear societal change: The perspective of dynamical systems. British Journal of Social Psychology, 58(1), 105-128.

Biesaga, M., Motyka, P., & Nowak, A. (2018). The Effects of Synchronization With Either Joyful or Angry People on Perception of an Emotionally Neutral Person. Social Psychological Bulletin, 13, e26821.

Ziembowicz, K., & Nowak, A. (2018). Prosody of Text Communication? How to Induce Synchronization and Coherence in Chat Conversations. International Journal of Human–Computer Interaction, 1-10.

Nowak, A., Lukowicz, P., & Horodecki, P. (2018). Assessing Artificial Intelligence for Humanity: Will AI be the Our Biggest Ever Advance? or the Biggest Threat [Opinion]. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 37(4), 26-34.

Rychwalska, A., & Roszczyńska-Kurasińska, M. (2018, January). Polarization on social media: when group dynamics leads to societal divides. In Proceedings of the 51st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Nowak, A., Vallacher, R. R., Zochowski, M., & Rychwalska, A. (2017). Functional synchronization: The emergence of coordinated activity in human systems. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 945.

Vallacher, R. R., Read, S. J., & Nowak, A. (Eds.). (2017). Computational social psychology. Routledge.

Johnson, J., Nowak, A., Ormerod, P., Rosewell, B., & Zhang, Y. C. (Eds.). (2017). Non-Equilibrium Social Science and Policy: Introduction and Essays on New and Changing Paradigms in Socio-Economic Thinking. Springer.

Rychwalska, A., & Roszczynska-Kurasinska, M. (2017). Value sensitive design for peer production systems: mediating social interactions. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine, 36(3), 48-55.

Nowak, A., Zabłocka, A., & Praszkier, R. (2017). How Much do Leaders Seek to Be Influenced? The Concept of Social Influence in Reverse in Reverse. Journal of Positive Management, 8(4), 58-79.

Praszkier, R. (2017). Empowering Leadership of Tomorrow. Cambridge University Press.

 

Research carried out in CCSNT involves extensive national and world-wide scientific collaboration. In particular, we work with:

  • Robin Vallacher (Florida Atlantic University)
  • Arie Kruglanski, Michele Gelfand (University of Maryland)
  • Jeff Johnson (Open University)
  • Jeremy Pitt (Imperial College London)
  • Paul Lukowicz (DFKI, University of Pasau)
  • Paul Ormerod (Centre for Decision Making Uncertainty at University College, London (UCL)
  • Maciej Lewenstein (The Institute of Photonic Sciences, ICFO)
  • Jorgen Andersen (Sorbona, Paris)
  • Michał Żochowski (University of Michigan)
  • Piotr Winkielman (University of California)
  • European Centre for Living Technology
  • Andrea Bartoli, Seton Hall University, New Jersey.
  • DST Innovsation Lab, Columbia University, New York, USA
  • Geoff Goodell and Tomaso Aste, University College London