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February 13, 2019

Postdoc at University of Pennsylvania, Social and Behavioral Science Initiative (SBSI)

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The University of Pennsylvania, Social and Behavioral Science Initiative (SBSI) seeks applicants for a postdoctoral fellowship position for the 2019/2020 academic year. Funding is guaranteed for one year with the possibility of renewal for an additional year.

SBSI is a new interdisciplinary initiative comprised of scholars within the School of Arts and Sciences interested in the study of human social behavior and decision making.

The position is designed for individuals who have recently obtained a PhD degree in psychology or a related behavioral science discipline. The position is intended as a springboard for excellent researchers to help them build and establish their own research program. We are particularly interested in applicants who will pursue collaborative research with more than one SBSI scholar.

Applicants should specify in their research statement how their work connects with the interests of faculty in the SBSI. SBSI faculty are located primarily in the psychology department, but also in SAS departments that share an interest in human behavior and decision making, including communication, criminology, linguistics, philosophy, and political science. Topics of interest of faculty include judgement and decision-making, morality and cooperation, social cognition and evolutionary and cultural origins of behavior.


Fellows receive a competitive salary and health insurance plus a modest research and travel budget. Fellows also benefit from access to the greater community of academics and leading research facilities equipped with cutting-edge instrumentation all on an urban campus in a vibrant city. Fellows are invited to join regular working group meetings within their field, plus career development workshops aimed at young researchers. Funding is guaranteed for one year with the possibility of renewal for an additional year.

Eligibility & Application

Applicants must have formally completed all requirements of the PhD. Candidates must submit a research statement that identifies potential collaborative opportunities with SBSI faculty at Penn, along with a CV, and contact information for two referees by March 31, 2019.

All eligible and complete applications will be evaluated by the Selection Committee and judged based on scientific excellence and fit.

Please direct applications and questions to: stonerl@sas.upenn.edu

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class. Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

February 6, 2019

International Conference on Computational Social Science, July 18-20, 2019, Amsterdam

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Call for Papers

IC2S2 brings together researchers in computational science, complexity, and social science, and provides a platform for new work in the field of computational social science.
Contributed abstracts are presented orally in parallel thematic sessions or as posters at the three day conference, which takes place at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands from July 18 to 20.

Regular abstract submission

IC2S2 solicits abstracts from researchers in the social sciences with a clear component of computation, simulation or data analysis or data science. This includes for example sociology, psychology, communication science, anthropology, media studies, political science, public health, and economics. In addition, contributions from computer science, data science, and computational science with real-world applications in the social sciences or related fields, are welcome. We emphatically welcome abstracts that try to integrate both components. This is not limited to empirical studies; more general theoretical contributions are also welcome.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Network analysis of social systems
  • Large-scale social experiments
  • Agent-based or other simulations of social phenomena
  • Text analysis and natural language processing (NLP) of social phenomena
  • Cultural patterns and dynamics
  • Computational science studies (sociology of science)
  • Social news curation and collaborative filtering
  • Social media studies
  • Theoretical discussions in computational social science
  • Causal inference and computational methods for social science
  • Ethics in computational social sciences
  • Reproducibility in computational social science
  • Large scale infrastructure in computational social science
  • Novel digital data sources
  • Computational analyses for addressing societal challenges
  • Methods and analyses of observational social data
  • Computational social science research in industry

Submission guidelines

Contributions to the conference should be submitted via EasyChair at:


Please follow the extended abstract template guidelines for Word (ic2s2-word-template.docx) and LaTeX (ic2s2-latex-template.zip) for formatting instructions. Note that abstracts should be submitted as a PDF file no larger than 20MB. Submissions that exceed the 2-page limit (including figures and references) will be automatically rejected.

The extended abstract should include a title and a list of 5 keywords, but no authors’ names or affiliations. The abstract should outline the main contribution, data and methods used, results, and the impact of the work. Authors are encouraged to include one figure in their submission (the figure counts towards the page limit).

Please do not include authors’ names and affiliations in the submitted document, as peer review will be double blind. Each extended abstract will be reviewed by multiple members of the Program Committee, composed of experts in computational social science.

When submitting on EasyChair you will be asked to provide information about the authors and their affiliations and to include a one-sentence summary of the extended abstract (20-50 words). The summary will be used for assigning reviewers. You can indicate a preference for an oral presentation or a poster presentation, but your preference may not be honored in the final decision.

Submissions will be non-archival, and the presented work can be already published, in preparation for publication elsewhere, or ongoing research. Submission implies willingness to present a talk or poster at the conference.

Deadline: February 10, 2019

Submit here: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=ic2s2-2019

Already uploaded submissions can be improved and updated as long as the deadline has not yet passed.

Questions or remarks regarding the CfP and submission process? Reach out to the program chairs at ic2s2-2019@easychair.org.

January 22, 2019

What’s the deal with wind chill?

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Twenty years ago, a German colleague asked me what the deal was with wind chill. I guess they didn’t have it in Germany. I explained it was an attempt to communicate how it feels when there is a low temperature combined with wind.  But my colleague wanted to know how they get the values in charts like these:

If you look closely at the first chart, it gives the formula for wind chill. It looks pretty hairy but it’s just a function of two things: wind speed and temperature. The windchill in Fahrenheit is just:

35.74 + .6251 * temp – 35.75 * windspeed^.16 + .4275 * temp * windspeed^.16

(Note that windchill is only defined for temperatures below 50°F and wind speeds above 3 mph.)

But where does this equation come from? This brochure has the answer. Researchers put sensors on people’s faces and had them walk in wind tunnels:

During the human trials, 6 male and 6 female volunteers were placed in a chilled wind tunnel. Thermal transducers were stuck to their faces to measure heat flow from the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin while walking 3 mph on a treadmill. Each volunteer took part in four trials of 90 minutes each and was exposed to varying wind speeds and temperatures. The NWS Wind Chill Temperature (WCT) index uses advances in science, technology, and computer modeling to provide an accurate, understandable, and useful formula for calculating the dangers from winter winds and freezing temperatures. The index does the following:
  • Calculates wind speed at an average height of 5 feet, the typical height of an adult human face, based on readings from the national standard height of 33 feet, typical height of an anemometer
  • Is based on a human face model
  • Incorporates heat transfer theory based on heat loss from the body to its surroundings, during cold and breezy/windy days
  • Lowers the calm wind threshold to 3 mph
  • Uses a consistent standard for skin tissue resistance
  • Assumes no impact from the sun, i.e., clear night sky.

A common misunderstanding is to assume that the wind can make something colder than the outside temperature. That can’t happen. Wind just speeds up the chilling process.

Ok, this is all fine, but we wanted a chart that would 1) make it easier to see the effect of the wind speed and temperature and 2) show the wind chill effect for typical February weather in New York and Chicago. We coded up the following:

click to enlarge

Note that in this chart, the Y axis isn’t the temperature, it’s the difference between the outside temperature and the windchill: the number of degrees you need to subtract.

So, when the wind is 10 miles per hour (red line), and the temperature is 25 degrees (x axis value of 25), the effect of wind chill is to lower the perceived temperature by 10 degrees (y axis value of -10), but at the same temperature when the wind is 25 miles per hour (blue line), wind lowers perceived temperature by about 16 degrees.

A useful takeaway is that with average winds and average temperatures, the effect of windchill is to lower the perceived temperature by about 7-12 degrees.

(BTW, if you like this stuff, you might enjoy our post on the heat index.)

Want to mess around with the code? Here you go:

January 16, 2019

Summer Institute on Bounded Rationality, June 11 – 19, 2019, Max Planck Institute Berlin

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We are delighted to announce that the 18th Summer Institute on Bounded Rationality will take place June 11 – 19, 2019, at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany.

The Summer Institute brings together talented young researchers and renowned scientists from around the globe and aims to spark a dialogue about decision making under the real world constraints of limited time, information, or computational power. The Summer Institute offers a forum for young scholars from various disciplines to share their approaches, discuss their research, and to inspire each other. The program will cover the fundamentals, methodology, and recent findings on bounded rationality.

The theme of 2019 is bounded rationality in a digital world. This year, we will approach the topic of bounded rationality in the context of recent technological developments and rapidly changing informational environments, as well as the new challenges they present to human rationality and decision making. The keynote talks will be given by Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol; Oliver Brock, Technical University of Berlin; and Iyad Rahwan, Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

On behalf of the directors of the Summer Institute, Gerd Gigerenzer and Ralph Hertwig, we invite young scholars of decision making from all fields to apply. Participation is free, accommodation is provided, and travel expenses will be partly reimbursed.

Applications are open until March 17, 2019.

Apply here: http://bit.ly/2npmmNT
Website: http://bit.ly/2DPGYcu

Please feel free to email any questions you might have to si2019@mpib-berlin.mpg.de.

January 9, 2019

Behavioral Science and Policy Association (BSPA) June 14, 2019

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The annual conference of the Behavioral Science & Policy Association (BSPA) will be held on June 14, 2019 in New York City, NY. Attendees include leading behavioral scientists, policy makers, behavioral science consultants, private and public sector executives, and members of the media.

BSPA seeks proposals by March 9 , 2019 for short (TED talk style) presentations highlighting research in six key areas in which behavioral scientists could have significant influence on policy. These include:

Education & Culture,
Energy & Environment
Financial Decision Making
Justice & Ethics
Management & Labor

The short presentation session is designed to inform and influence academics, policy makers, and managers. Presentations may demonstrate recent key research findings (potentially from multiple papers) with meaningful implications for policy and practice and need not present new work-in-progress. These presentations should not be highly technical.

Click here to learn more and to submit: https://behavioralpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/BSPA-Call-For-Presenters-2019.pdf

December 31, 2018

The SJDM Newsletter is ready for download

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The quarterly Society For Judgment and Decision Making newsletter is ready for download:


December 26, 2018

Replication Markets Team Seeks Journal Partners for Replication Trial

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This week we present a letter from a group embarking on an interesting project in which journals work with the team in order to test the effectiveness of prediction markets for predicting how well experiments replicate.

“Recent attempts to systematically replicate samples of published experiments in the social and behavioral sciences have revealed disappointingly low rates of replication. Many parties are discussing a wide range of options to address this problem.

Surveys and prediction markets have been shown to predict, at rates substantially better than random, which experiments will replicate. This suggests a simple strategy by which academic journals could increase the rate at which their published articles replicate. For each relevant submitted article, create a prediction market estimating its chance of replication, and use that estimate as one factor in deciding whether to publish that article.

The Replication Markets Team seeks academic journals to join us in a test of this strategy. We have been selected for an upcoming DARPA program to create prediction markets for several thousand scientific replication experiments, many of which could be based on articles submitted to your journal. Each market would predict the chance of an experiment replicating. Of the already-published experiments in the pool, approximately one in ten will be sampled randomly for replication. (Whether submitted papers could be included in the replication pool depends on other teams in the program.) Our past markets have averaged 70% accuracy, and the work is listed at the Science Prediction Market Project page, and has been published in Science, PNAS, and Royal Society Open Science.

While details are open to negotiation, our initial concept is that your journal would tell potential authors that you are favorably inclined toward experiment article submissions that are posted at our public archive of submitted articles. By posting their article, authors declare that they have submitted their article to some participating journal, though they need not say which one. You tell us when you get a qualifying submission, we quickly tell you the estimated chance of replication, and later you tell us of your final publication decision.

At this point in time we seek only an expression of substantial interest that we can take to DARPA and other teams. Details that may later be negotiated include what exactly counts as a replication, whether archived papers reveal author names, how fast we respond with our replication estimates, what fraction of your articles we actually attempt to replicate, and whether you privately give us any other quality indicators obtained in your reviews to assist in our statistical analysis.

Please RSVP to: Angela Cochran, PM acochran@replicationmarkets.com 571 225 1450

Sincerely, the Replication Markets Team

Thomas Pfeiffer (Massey University)
Yiling Chen, Yang Liu, and Haifeng Xu (Harvard University)
Anna Dreber Almenberg & Magnus Johannesson (Stockholm School of Economics)
Robin Hanson & Kathryn Laskey (George Mason University)”

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/5VdQP3

December 12, 2018

One year US government fellowships doing large-scale randomized studies

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The GSA Office of Evaluation Sciences (OES) is currently accepting applications for one-year fellowships beginning in October 2019 in Washington, D.C.

OES is a team of applied researchers tasked with building insights from the social and behavioral sciences into federal programs, and testing and learning what works. The work and role of OES are unique – directly designing, implementing and analyzing evidence-based interventions and randomized evaluations in a large-scale federal policy environment. OES Fellows apply promising interventions at a national scale, run large-scale tests reaching millions of people, and work closely with key decision makers in government. Fellows shape their own high-impact portfolio of work, design and direct projects, author academic publications, and benefit from a dynamic team and flexible Federal work environment.

Over the past four years, OES has completed over 60 randomized evaluations with agency partners. For more information on our portfolio to date, go to https://oes.gsa.gov/work/.

Please consider applying and pass this opportunity along. The deadline to submit an application is 11:59 pm EST Sunday, December 30, 2018.

December 5, 2018

Bayesian Crowd Conference, June 24-25, 2019

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On June 24-25, 2019, Erasmus University Rotterdam will host the 14th Annual Tinbergen Institute Conference in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. The theme of this year is “Bayesian Crowd”.

This conference is unique in that it brings together people from different backgrounds (economics, psychology, computer sciences, decision analysis) who work on truth-telling or wisdom of crowds, broadly speaking. It offers two days to mingle and present the latest breakthroughs on Bayesian and behavioral methods to elicit true answers from individuals and crowds:

  • scoring and incentives
  • Bayesian truth-serum and related mechanisms
  • behavioral approaches to promote truth-telling
  • crowds
  • individuals
  • wisdom of crowds and judgment aggregation
  • prediction markets
  • identifying experts

Keynote Speakers
David Budescu, Fordham University
Anna Dreber Almenberg, Stockholm School of Economics
Boi Faltings, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

Abstract Submission Deadline: March 3, 2019 (Sunday) midnight.

The organizing committee will select papers for presentation at the conference based on abstracts.

All abstracts should be submitted online at http://bayesiancrowd.com/abstract-submission.
We encourage early submissions, and decisions about the abstracts will be communicated on a rolling basis to the authors, and latest by March 17, 2019.

Travel awards will be available for PhD students and junior faculty, covering flights and accommodation. Applications to travel awards should be made with the abstract submission.

More details about the conference, registration, travel awards and accommodations can be found at:

If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by email: Christina Månsson, Tinbergen Institute, tinbergen at tinbergen.nl

Organizing Committee
Aurelien Baillon, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Drazen Prelec, MIT
Dennie van Dolder, VU Amsterdam
Tong Wang, Erasmus University Rotterdam

November 28, 2018

Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making Conference Montreal, July 7-10, 2019.

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The 4th Multidisciplinary Conference on Reinforcement Learning and Decision Making (RLDM 2019) will be held in Montréal, Canada, from July 7-10, 2019. Workshops are a new addition to the RLDM program, and will be held on the last afternoon of the meeting, Wednesday July 10, from 1pm to 5pm.

We invite researchers interested in chairing one of these workshops to submit workshop proposals. The goal of the workshops is to encourage interdisciplinary discussion and provide an informal forum for researchers to discuss important research questions and challenges. Controversial issues, open problems, and comparisons of competing approaches are encouraged as workshop topics.

We also invite both standard and innovative/non-standard formats, such as invited oral presentations, panel discussions, data modeling challenges, hackathons, debates, and workshops aimed at improving communication between researchers from different fields rather than presenting novel research.

Workshop organizers have several responsibilities, including coordinating workshop participation and content as well as providing the program for the workshop in a timely manner.

Due to the short length of the workshops, we discourage poster sessions.

Submission Instructions

To submit a workshop proposal, please e-mail your submission to Sam Gershman (gershman at fas.harvard.edu) by 23:59 UTC on Friday, March 1st, 2019. Notifications will be provided by March 15, 2019.

Proposals should clearly specify the following:
* Workshop title and acronym if available
* A brief description of the workshop focus, emphasizing why this workshop would appeal to the diverse RLDM audience
* A short description of the format of planned activities (talks, panels, invited speakers, activities, etc.)
* A list of which invited speakers have confirmed their willingness to participate
* A list of organizers with email addresses, web page URLs

RLDM will not be able to provide travel funding for workshop speakers. In other venues, some workshops have sought and received funding from external sources to bring in outside speakers and RLDM is open to that model.