On the emergence of consensus and misunderstanding

February 24-25, 2014, Rome, Italy


Confirmed Speakers

Andrea Baronchelli (City University London)

Andrea Baronchelli is Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department of City University London. His interests are in network science, human behavior, and data science. In particular, Andrea’s work focuses on the analysis and modeling of social, biological and cognitive systems. Specific topics he has recently explored include diffusion and spreading phenomena in complex networks, online (Twitter) and offline (face to face interaction networks) collective dynamics, and user (ir)rationality in economic arenas.

Francesca Colaiori (Institute for Complex Systems, ISC-CNR, Rome)

Francesca Colaiori is a researcher at the Institute for Complex Systems, which is part of the National Research Council, based at Sapienza University in Rome. Her background is in theoretical physics.  She completed her Ph.D. at the International School for Advanced Study (Trieste, IT) in Solid state Physics, and then worked as a PostDoc at MIT (Cambridge, US), at the University of Oxford (UK), at the University of Manchester (UK), and at Sapienza University of Rome. Her research interests span across different disciplines from statistical physics to biophysics, linguistic, and sociology.

Bruno Galantucci (Yeshiva University & Haskins Laboratories)

Bruno Galantucci is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology of Yeshiva University, where he directs the Experimental Semiotics Laboratory. He is also a research affiliate at the Haskins Laboratories, where he has conducted research on the psychology of language, including speech perception, word recognition, and sentence processing, and has been a research fellow at ZIF (University of Bielefeld), where he has conducted research on embodied communication. In the last few years, he has focused on studying experimentally how humans establish and develop novel forms of communication, contributing to the foundation of the field of Experimental Semiotics. He served as associate editor of Topics in Cognitive Science and is currently serving as the associate editor of Cognitive Semiotics. His research interests include experimental semiotics, human communication, joint action, distributed cognition, social cognition, language, and speech science.

Martin Hilpert (Université de Neuchâtel)

Martin Hilpert is assistant professor of English linguistics at the University of Neuchâtel. He is interested in Cognitive Linguistics, Language Change, Construction Grammar, and Corpus Linguistics. After completing his PhD in Linguistics (Rice University, 2007), he was a Postdoc at the ICSI Berkeley in Chuck Fillmore’s Framenet project and did research at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies. Since 2012 he has been at the University of Neuchâtel. His book ‘Constructional Change in English’, which investigates how Construction Grammar can be used for the analysis of linguistic change, just came out with the Cambridge University Press.

Gerhard Jäger (University of Tübingen)

Gerhard Jäger is Professor of General Linguistics at Tübingen University. He obtained his Ph.D. in German Linguistics in Berlin in 1996. Afterwards he worked as postdoctoral researcher at various universities, such as the University of Munich, UPenn, Stanford, and the University of Utrecht.  In 2004 Jäger accepted a position as Professor of Semantics and Syntax at Bielefeld University, where he worked until his move to Tübingen in 2009. During his time as a Ph.D. student and as a postdoc, Jäger’s research was centered on issues of formal semantics – especially of the dynamic variety – categorial grammar, and mathematical linguistics. Over the past ten years, his interests have shifted towards formal renderings of functionally inspired models of language. This line of research guided his interests towards game theory as a suitable mathematical framework for the study of linguistic communication. Another central topic of Jäger’s current research activities are evolutionary models of language use and language change. Here he has worked with both computer simulations and large-scale statistical evaluations of typological data. In 2013 he was awarded and ERC Advanced Grant on the topic “Language evolution: The empirical turn”.

Simon Kirby (University of Edinburgh)

Simon Kirby is Professor of Language Evolution at the University of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His scientific work concerns the origin of human uniqueness, and the ways in which culture and biology interact to shape the evolution of our species. He combines laboratory experiments with computer simulations to bridge the gap between individual cognition and population-wide behaviour. He pairs his scientific work with artistic output as part of FOUND, best known for interactive installations such as End of Forgetting, #UNRAVEL, and the BAFTA-winning Cybraphon, now part of the permanent collection of National Museums Scotland.

Seán Roberts (MPI for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen)

Seán Roberts is a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.  He looks at how individual cognition and conversational interaction are related to population-level phenomena. This includes modelling in a variety of frameworks and statistical analyses of large-scale, cross-cultural data.  His PhD was on evolutionary approaches to bilingualism, completed at the Language Evolution and Computation research unit at University of Edinburgh.  He blogs about language evolution at Replicated Typo.

Francesca Tria (Institute for Scientific Interchange, Torino)

Dr. Francesca Tria is a researcher at the Institute for Scientific Interchange (ISI) in Turin. Her background is in statistical physics and complex systems. Her current interests are in biologically motivated problems where a statistical physics approach could play an important role, and in computational social science and information dynamics. She has worked on topics such as phylogenesis and virus evolution on the one hand, and language and opinion dynamics on the other hand, exploring in particular how information impacts human behaviour, both at the individual and at the collective level. Her most recent interest is on the dynamics of innovation, both in human activities and in biological systems.

Peter Turchin (University of Connecticut, currently visiting the University of Aarhus)

Peter Turchin was trained as a theoretical biologist, but during the last fifteen years he has been working in the field of historical social science that he and his colleagues call Cliodynamics  (http://cliodynamics.info/). His research interests lie at the intersection of sociocultural evolution,  historical macrosociology, economic history and cliometrics, mathematical modeling of long-term social processes, and the construction and analysis of historical databases. More specifically, he investigates two broad and interrelated questions: what general mechanisms explain the collapse of historical empires? And how did large-scale states and empires evolve in the first place? What are the social forces that hold together huge human conglomerates, and under what conditions do they fail? Turchin uses the theoretical framework of cultural multilevel selection to address these questions. Currently his main research effort is directed at coordinating SESHAT—a massive historical database of cultural evolution that will be used in empirical tests of theoretical predictions coming from various social evolution theories.