Landscape of Research and Innovation at Penn

Personal Plan -- Stage 1
Due 9/23/2014

This is the first step towards an individual plan for getting involved in research and innovation as an undergraduate at Penn.

What interests you?

In informal terms, what are some topics or areas where think you might want to get involved in research and/or innovation? Why?

Who does that kind of stuff where?

What people, departments, centers, institutes, seem to be doing the sort of thing you're interested in? Focus especially on Penn. You may find it worthwhile to look at people or organizations elsewhere, as a source of inspiration, but eventually you'll want to bring it back to resources available locally.

Format your answer as a set of names and links, with relevant quotations and comments.

So if "what interests you" was "the evolution of cooperation", your answers in this section might include

Linsvayer Lab: "We study the evolution and genetic basis of social phenotypes, using social insects as a model system. We are especially interested in how social interactions affect genetic architecture and trait evolution. We also study central themes of social evolution research, such as the evolution of cooperation and conflict."

PLEEP Lab: "The Penn Laboratory for Experimental Evolutionary Psychology (PLEEP), established by Robert Kurzban, an Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Pennsylvania, conducts experimental research informed by evolutionary considerations, largely focused on evolved cognitive adaptations for social life."

Erol Akçay: "I am a theoretical biologist interested in the evolution of complex biological and social organization. Mostly, I work on how individuals with conflicting interests evolve to cooperate with each other, in contexts varying from plant-microbe mutualisms to animal and human behavior. Please check the lab website for ongoing research projects and opportunities for joining the lab."

Cristina Bicchieri: "My intellectual affinities lie at the border between philosophy, game theory and psychology. My primary research focus is on judgment and decision making with special interest in decisions about fairness, trust, and cooperation, and how expectations affect behavior. A second research focus examines the nature and evolution of social norms, especially norms of fairness and cooperation. A third, earlier research focus has been the epistemic foundations of game theory and how changes in information affects rational choices and solutions."

The topics and techniques studied in Shawndra Hill's Social TV Lab seem to be connected.

Given their recent paper "The evolution of language from social cognition", Robert Seyfarth and Dorothy Cheney would be good people to talk to.

Some of Michael Weisberg's work looks relevant, e.g. Epistemic Landscapes and the Division of Cognitive Labor: "We consider three different search strategies scientists can adopt for exploring the landscape. In the first, scientists work alone and do not let the discoveries of the community as a whole influence their actions. is is compared with two social research strategies, which we call the follower and maverick strategies. Followers are biased towards what others have already discovered, and we find
that pure populations of these scientists do less well than scientists acting independently. However, pure populations of mavericks, who try to avoid research approaches that have already been taken, vastly outperform both of the other strategies. Finally, we show that in mixed populations, mavericks stimulate followers to greater levels of epistemic production,making polymorphic populations of mavericks and followers ideal in many research domains.

Maybe the Warren Center for Network & Data Sciences would have something of interest: "The Warren Center for Network & Data Sciences will foster research and innovation in interconnected social, economic and technological systems."

... and so on ...