This event has been cancelled due to COVID-19 related university policies and restrictions.
“Social Psychology Needs Widgets”
Social psychology reached its peak of mathematical formalization in the 1960s. For a variety of reasons, since that time, mathematical modeling has been spotty and largely outside the mainstream. One source of resistance is that the economic approach to formalization – deduction from core assumptions about rationality and motivation -- begs the very questions we seek to answer. Arguably, our optimal level of formalization is well below what we see in micro-economics, but well above what we see in top social psychology journals. One way forward is to deploy more widgets – families of descriptive mathematical functions that enable computational modeling and theory building in a disciplined but agnostic fashion and that facilitate the comparison of studies in abstract parameter spaces. I will illustrate this argument using my ongoing work on propensity functions for modeling social behavior, influence, exchange, and attitudes.