Statistical physics modeling of social dynamics

In recent years it has become widely recognized that many large-scale phenomena observed in social systems are the “macroscopic” complex effect of the “microscopic” simple behavior of a large number of interacting agents. This has led social scientists to the introduction of elementary models of social behavior (cellular automata, agent-based models). Many of these models are somehow relatives of models that have been introduced in modern traditional statistical physics, and it is natural to approach them using the same concepts and tools that have been successfully applied in physics.… Read the rest

Regularities and universality in large-scale social phenomena

In social phenomena every individual interacts with a limited number of peers, usually negligible as compared with the total number of people in the system. In spite of that, human societies are characterized by stunning global regularities. There are transitions from disorder to order, like the spontaneous emergence of a common language/culture or the creation of consensus about a specific topic.… Read the rest

Human Dynamics

Until now, the study of human dynamics has been done only qualitatively. Actually, the present possibility to have quantitative data on the kind and nature of social relationships through social networks is driving a rapid change in the field. Thanks to the emergence of detailed datasets that capture human behavior, we can now follow specific human actions in ultimate detail. One of the first measurable quantity with which one can describe the relationship between humans is the timing and order with which we perform specific tasks.… Read the rest