Towards Computational and Behavioral Social Science

Conte, R. & Giardini, F., 2016, In : European Psychologist. 21, 2, p. 131-140 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

In the last few years, the study of social phenomena has hosted a renewal of interest in Computational Social Science (CSS). While this field is not new – Axelrod’s first computational work on the evolution of cooperation goes back to 1981 – CSS has recently resurged under the pressure of quantitative social science and the application of Big Data analytics to social datasets. However, Big Data is no panacea and the data deluge that it provides raises more questions than it answers. The aim of this paper is to present an overview in which CSS will be introduced and the costs of CSS will be balanced against its benefits, in an attempt to propose an integrative view of the new and the old practice of CSS. In particular, two routes to integration will be drawn. First, it will be advocated that social data mining and computational modeling need to be integrated. Second, we will introduce the generative approach, aimed to understand how social phenomena can be generated starting from the micro-components, including psychological mechanisms, and we will discuss the necessity of combining it with the anticipatory, data-driven objective. By these means, Computational Social Science will develop into a more comprehensive field of Computational Social and Behavioral Science in which data science, ICT, as well as the behavioral and social sciences will be fruitfully integrated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Psychologist
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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