Social network of hundreds of League of Nations personals. (Martin Grandjean, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license)

Among other insights about human behavior, recent studies of social networks have shown that we’re much more motivated by social incentives that reward others than by economic self-interest alone. 

During a March 11 SFI Community Lecture in Santa Fe, MIT's Alex "Sandy" Pentland discussed how studying patterns of information exchange in a social network – even without any knowledge of the actual content – can help us predict with stunning accuracy how productive and effective that network is, and described how the mathematical analysis of social networks is fertile ground for understanding human behavior.

Pentland is the Toshiba Professor of Media, Arts, and Sciences at MIT and was named one of the world’s seven most powerful data scientists by Forbes in 2011. Pentland’s latest book is Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread – The Lessons from a New Science.

Watch Pentland's talk (March 11, 2015)

The 2015 Community Lecture series is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Thornburg Investment Management.

For a complete listing of upcoming SFI community events, visit here.