There are five students of the Doctorate in Social Complexity Sciences of the Research Center in Social Complexity (CICS), who are currently making news with their research in various international scenarios. They belong to different generations of DCCS, but they are all united by a passion for science in one of the two research areas the doctoral program has: Fundamentals of Cognition and Social Behavior (which includes the paradigm of Experimental Games Theory, Neuroscience, evolutionary psychology, biological anthropology, political economy); and Computational Social Sciences (data mining, machine learning, natural language processing, records of our digital fingerprint, modeling techniques, network formation).
Together with Isabel Behncke – CICS researcher who were recognized in the in the recently published book “Mujeres Bacanas Latinas” – and Loreto Bravo – from the Data Science Institute, who successfully organized the Women’s Conference in Data Science- , our five students have also a recognition from inside and outside DCCS. Here we present them:
María Teresa Barbato, 2016 generation
The paper Jealously in the Lab: The Effect of a Third Party Investment in the Romantic Partner related to its advance of thesis, was recently published in the prestigious Human Etology journal, the official one from the International Society of Human Ethology (ISHE). The work – carried out together with the academic Ana María Fernández of the School of Psychology of the Universidad de Santiago and Carlos Rodríguez-Sickert, researcher and director of the Research Center in Social Complexity (CICS) of the Universidad del Desarrollo – designed a new and innovative method to evoke jealousy in individuals in a romantic couple through games theory. After several tests performed on 28 couples, the results show that, by using this protocol, there is a sex difference in the evocation of jealousy, following the precepts of the evolutionary psychology hypothesis. This method validates the notion jealousy is an emotion which protects the couple’s bond and unleash the study on the hypothesis that jealousy is related to the rival and not to mutual trust.
Read the article here
Yerka Freire, 2016 generation
Her recent study on the characterization of attitudes towards immigration in Chile Characterization of Local Attitude towards Immigration using Social Media, carried out together with Eduardo Graells-Garrido (Data Science Institute of the Faculty of Engineering, Universidad del Desarrollo), was selected to be exhibited in San Francisco, United States, on May during the Latin American Web Congress and also at the 5th International Conference of Computational Social Science on July this year, at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The use of Twitter is proposed for the characterization of local attitudes towards immigration, with a case study on Chile, where the immigrant population has increased dramatically in recent years, mainly from Haiti. By using semi-supervised topic models, about 50 thousand users were placed in a spectrum that ranges from pro-immigration, characterizing both sides of it in two aspects: the emotions and the relevant lexical categories to each attitude, and the structure of the discussion network, finding temporary trends and polarization.
These ideas would be useful as a background for policymakers on how people feel about migration, with possible implications for policy communication and the design of interventions to improve relationships between groups.
Read the article here
Oriana Figueroa, 2017 generation
Related to the area of Fundamentals of Cognition and Social Behavior, Oriana’s research “Attachment and intrasexual competitiveness in committed individuals from Chile” – jointly developed with Ana María Fernández, José Antonio Muñoz-Reyes, Abraham P. Buunk and Paula Pavez – study the relationship of intrasexual competition with the dimensions of adult attachment.
The document, which was accepted in the Interpersona: An International Journal on Personal Relationships journal – and will be published soon – addresses the dimensions of attachment in terms of intrasexual competition, thit is, the perception of rival potentials when establishing reproduction strategies .
Gabriela Valdebenito, 2016 generation
Two works made by Gabriela were accepted for the Annual Meeting of the Organization for the Mapping of the Human Brain (OHBM) which takes place this year in Rome. The student will present the poster Posterior Parietal Cortex Encode Value and Prediction error in ambiguity decisions, research made jointly with María Paz Martínez, Josefina Larraín, Ximena Stecher, César Salinas, Francisco Zamorano and Pablo Billeke, from the division of Neuroscience at CICS. In this research, it aims to identify the role played by the parietal cortex in the neurobiological activity that encodes the value, given that the scientific evidence focuses on both the prefrontal cortex and the parietal cortex, but the role played by the latter isn’t clear yet. Thus, after the formulation of a hypothesis, Gabriela conducted studies in more than 40 healthy subjects using in one group functional magnetic resonance (fpMRI) and transcranial electrical stimulation – electroencephalogram (TMS-EEG) in others, yielding results which demonstrate a connectivity between these brain areas (prefrontal and parietal cortex).
Gabriela’s second research demonstrates the first findings of her doctoral thesis, whose title is Dorsomedial prefrontal cortex participates in the modulation of the uncertainty independent of the learning rate. The document will be presented as a poster, and by studying 18 healthy subjects through functional magnetic resonance imaging (fpMRI), it seeks to determine the incidence of uncertainty in the learning rate and vice versa, although there is no clarity in the brain areas that cover uncertainty. The findings showed that its modulation occurs in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex for both cases, independently of the learning rate in contexts of uncertainty (high or low).
María Paz Martínez, 2016 generation
Under the title Reward magnitude increases learning rate and the activity in value-related brain areas in adolescent, María Paz’s poster will also be presented in Rome this year at the Annual Meeting of the Organization for Mapping the Human Brain (OHBM). With the collaboration of Gabriela Valdebenito, Josefina Larraín, Ximena Stecher, César Salinas, Francisco Zamorano and Pablo Billeke, the research work addresses risky decision-making during adolescence, and how these decisions are associated with greater sensitivity to incentives and a relatively weak cognitive control. After proposing a hypothesis related to the magnitude of the reward, the changes in the learning rate and/or a bias (positive or negative) in the estimation of the value, the brain areas associated with the risky decision-making were evaluated in healthy adolescents while performing a certain task.
Postulate here to our Doctorate in Social Complexity Sciences and be part of the study of human behavior carried out by our students.