Many researchers at SFI are driven by a curiosity to understand the laws that underlie various forms of life. Work spearheaded more than two decades ago by SFI’s Geoffrey West, Brian Enquist, and Jim Brown has illustrated that organisms’ biological functions are governed by scaling laws. Other researchers have gone on to discover that human social life, from cities to organizations, follows similar rules. “These laws apply, with their own specificities, across domains,” says Veronica Cappelli, an SFI Applied Complexity Postdoctoral Fellow. “What I find extraordinary is our ability to infer these higher-level laws governing processes that are incredibly complex and cognitively distant from us. Observing the presence of scaling behavior across such a wide variety of domains, from biological to social, evokes a sense of unity and connectedness in a seemingly chaotic world.” 

Following an M.Sc. in economics and social sciences and an M.Phil. in statistics from Bocconi University, Cappelli completed her Ph.D. in economics and decision sciences at HEC Paris in 2020. 

Long captivated by the beauty of mathematics and fascinated by the human mind, Cappelli studies decision theory, researching the laws that underlie human thought, specifically in an organizational context. “I believe that it is important to understand and model behavior of economic agents correctly,” she says. “Trying to understand these laws of behavior is the first step in designing optimal policies including, for instance, those that incentivize firms to act in ways that benefit society.” Arriving Aug., 2022