Photo of Martina Testori
20192019

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Personal information

My primary research interest focuses on human cooperation in the context of social dilemmas.
In particular, I focus on understanding how exogenous (e.g. group composition, organizational/network structure, information flow) and endogenous (e.g. personality traits) factors improve or deplete cooperation. I have previously worked on decision-making and personality traits, trying to understand how specific personality traits impact cooperation both at the individuals and at the collective level.
I employ both experimental design and mathematical models (agent/individual-based models) that describe the human dynamics at both the individuals and the collective level.

Research

My current work relates to modeling gossip in groups.

Content:

This project aims at merging the empirical findings from the experiments conducted in Project 1 and 2 into a broader framework: a computational model that integrates all different stages of gossip in organizations.
The goal is to observe how gossip shapes group re-organization and performance while controlling for group composition and gossip reactions.
While in a laboratory setting we cannot manipulate individual traits (e.g. the number of individuals who exhibit prosocial or proself attitudes), the computational model allows us to simulate different working environments, manipulating the group size as well as the individuals' propensity towards gossip.
Furthermore, gossip is not only expected to influence group processes and performance but these processes and performance, in turn, are likely to influence gossip over time, i.e., there are feedback loops. As an example, extensive proself gossip might hurt productivity, which may in turn increase gossip.

Thus, a computational model will incorporate all these aspects, providing predictions on what are the key aspects that affect organizational performances with respect to gossip propagation.

 

Methods:

Agent-based models are the perfect tool to describe situations in which individuals’ features lead to evolution at the group level.

We will first design a basic model in which the flow of gossip is affected by few main characteristics of the agents, such as their  (1) prosocial or proself nature, (2) social motivation, (3) depth of information processing, as well as their (4) tendency towards cooperation

Academic qualification

Applied Mathematics, PhD, University of Southampton

20162019

Award Date: 6 Dec 2019

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