Program Postdoctoral Fellow (Starting at SFI September 2018)

Starting at SFI September 2018

Meysam will be working with Mirta Galesic on her NSF-DRMS funded project studying the relationship between diversity of opinions and group performance (in collaboration with Daniel Barkoczi and Simon DeDeo). The project investigates how communities manage exploration-exploitation tradeoff when facing tasks of different complexity and different levels of threat.

The recent surge in radical-right movements and violence in Europe and the United States threatens democratic institutions, escalates intergroup conflicts and racial resentment, and has the potential to create hostile or dominant attitude toward the minorities and societal scapegoats and punish deviants. These issues have caught the attention of many researchers and are projected to be among the most complex challenges of the next decade. We will never know whether more inclusive rhetoric and policies from mainstream politicians and elites would have spared us the rise of radical-right politics. What is clear, though, is that we need to carefully study the causes and consequences of its resurgence and spread, and for that, we need to use multidisciplinary approaches that fully embrace all available resources and tools. Widespread use of social media by extremist organizations and their followers provides researchers with unprecedented opportunities to characterize political extremists. Meysam exploits this opportunity by analyzing publicly available social media data of political extremists. ​He is interested in identifying unique characteristics of political extremists including their psychological profiles, information consumption, and behavior contagion.

Meysam holds a Ph.D. in computational social science from George Mason University, a M.Sc. in information science from the University of Pittsburgh, and a M.Sc. and B.Sc. in industrial engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research at Indiana University Bloomington before joining SFI in summer 2018.