About this talk:
The current US political landscape brings many puzzling questions. For example, the two major parties have become increasingly polarized since the 1960s, while most voters maintained moderate policy positions. What can lead to the disconnect between the parties and the voters? Also, a sizable portion, often the majority, of the voting population is uninformed about facts that are relevant to their voting decisions, such as policies proposed by the candidates. Is there a "garbage in, garbage out" problem in our democracy? Will it reach representative decisions when its components are uninformed?
In this talk, Vicky will give an overview of research projects that address these complex issues. These projects leverage dynamical-systems models, recent findings in psychology, and data analysis. This approach takes into account the impact of multiple, complex, and often non-linear interdependent factors. It also allows us to move beyond the phenomenon at hand, and explore the underlying generative mechanisms.
About the speaker:
Vicky Chuqiao Yang is a Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow, an Omidyar Fellow, and the Peters Hurst Scholar at the Santa Fe Institute. Her research uses mathematical tools to understand complex phenomena of human society. Vicky aims to understand both human's collective smarts and their collective stupidity. Her recent applications of interest are urban areas and democratic voting. Her approach involves two aspects: building mathematical models informed by psychological and social principles of human behavior, and using real-world datasets to inform and confront these models. Vicky received a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Northwestern University.