News articles tagged with "social_science"

01/22/2014 09:59:48
Douglas Smith
Lance Edwin Davis, Caltech's Mary Stillman Harkness Professor of Social Science, Emeritus, passed away on Monday, January 20, 2014, at age 85. Davis was a pioneer of "cliometrics"—from Clio, the Greek muse of history—which applies modern economic theories and mathematical techniques to economic systems that no longer exist, such as the New England textile industry. These analyses required him to sift through the data buried in such things as whalers' logs from New Bedford, Massachusetts, or the records of the East India Company in order to test his hypotheses about how defunct industries and empires actually worked. "In the process," says Philip Hoffman, the Rea A. and Lela G. Axline Professor of Business Economics and professor of history, "economic history became part of economics and the whole field was remade." Davis was also instrumental in establishing Caltech's social science doctoral program, a combination of economics and political science with a uniquely mathematical approach.
01/13/2014 10:38:05
Douglas Smith
Jean Ensminger, Caltech's Edie and Lew Wasserman Professor of Social Sciences, is studying a corruption network linked to aid money, using interviews and quantitative analytical methods to follow the money disbursed by a large World Bank project in Africa.
12/27/2013 10:21:27
Cynthia Eller
The subjects were asked to observe the shifting value of a hypothetical financial asset and make predictions about whether it would go up or down. Simultaneously, the subjects interacted with an "expert" who was also making predictions.
07/01/2013 12:00:04
Marcus Woo
Economists argue that the dominant players in a market almost always make well-informed and objective decisions. Psychologists, on the other hand, say that markets are not immune from human irrationality. Now, a new analysis shows that markets are indeed susceptible to psychological phenomena.
01/26/2013 18:47:21
Douglas Smith
Getting married and moving out of your parents' house may be key to your personal economic development, but are marriage patterns key to an entire society's development as well? Professor of Social Science History Tracy Dennison tells us what love's got to do with it at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 30, 2013, in Caltech's Beckman Auditorium. Admission is free.
01/14/2013 18:03:33
Marcus Woo
When offered spinach or a cookie, how do you decide which to eat? Do you go for the healthy choice or the tasty one? To study the science of decision making, researchers in the lab of Caltech neuroeconomist Antonio Rangel analyze what happens inside people's brains as they choose between various kinds of food. The researchers typically use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the changes in oxygen flow through the brain; these changes serve as proxies for spikes or dips in brain activity. Recently, however, investigators have started using a new technique that may better tease out how you choose between the spinach or the cookie—a decision that's often made in a fraction of a second.
12/12/2012 09:36:19
Katie Neith
Humans have a tendency to spontaneously synchronize their movements. For example, the footsteps of two friends walking together may synchronize, although neither individual is consciously aware that it is happening. Similarly, the clapping hands of an audience will naturally fall into synch. Although this type of synchronous body movement has been observed widely, its neurological mechanism and its role in social interactions remain obscure. A new study, led by cognitive neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), has found that body-movement synchronization between two participants increases following a short session of cooperative training, suggesting that our ability to synchronize body movements is a measurable indicator of social interaction.
11/25/2012 17:21:18
Marcus Woo
In a new study, recently published online in the journal Psychological Science, a team led by Colin Camerer and Shinsuke Shimojo not only found a way to predict the severity of the bias, but also identified a technique that successfully reduces it—a strategy that could help produce fairer assessments in situations such as medical malpractice suits and reviewing police or military actions.
11/12/2012 00:18:16
Marcus Woo
For speed daters, first impressions are everything. But it's more than just being hot or not. Whether or not we like to admit it, we all may make snap judgments about a new face. Perhaps nowhere is this truer than in speed dating, during which people decide on someone's romantic potential in just a few seconds. How people make those decisions, however, is not well understood. But now, researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have found that people make such speed-dating decisions based on a combination of two different factors that are related to activity in two distinct parts of the brain.
10/18/2012 06:04:16
Marcus Woo
Thanks to better voting technology over the last decade, the country's election process has seen much improvement, according to a new report released today by researchers at Caltech and MIT. However, the report notes, despite this progress, some problems remain.
10/16/2012 16:04:09
Michael Rogers
Erik Snowberg, a Caltech professor of economics and political science, is an expert on the relationship between economics and politics, a very relevant topic in recent history. With the U.S. presidential election just about a month away, Snowberg recently answered a few questions about the presidential race and what we can expect on November 6.
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