Research Questions: Metastability
Metastable dynamics makes it possible for the brain to maintain several states at once
and to shift between them easily (Kelso, 2012; Bhowmik, Shanahan 2013; Rabinovich et al 2008).
Research Questions: Metastability
Metastable dynamics in human brain makes it adaptable, ﬂexible, and
robust against external perturbations. It enables simultaneous segregation
between different regions of neural activity and their integration, producing
complex cognitive and sensorimotor behavior.
Can similar dynamics be found in social processes and if so, how can it
be characterized? What would be the results of deviation from metastable
dynamics towards more ordered and more chaotic states?
If the brain is metastable, what about our cognition? What is the
dynamics of learning and communication? Does metastable dynamics
mean “healthy” mind?
Which network topologies are conducive for metastable dynamics?
Research Questions: Social Dynamics
How do social networks evolve over time?
How do online tools (recommender systems, online networks,
various applications) affect social dynamics and topology of our
Do they create ﬁlter bubbles (Pariser 2011)? If so, what are the
effects? Does that make social networks less adaptable and more
vulnerable? If so, how can those processes be reversed?
How can we develop the tools that help us communicate and
exchange knowledge, but don’t weaken our social ties?
Can better awareness of the social network dynamics affect our
social behavior and how? Does it propose a certain kind of
Research Questions: Cognitive Dynamics
How can we represent thinking and learning as a network?
What is the dynamics of efﬁcient learning? And what are the
different kinds of “efﬁcient”?
What is the topology of our knowledge? Are some knowledge
structures more open than others, is there any correlation with the
What could be the tools that can enhance the ways we learn,
think, and interact?
What network dynamics could we consider as healthy?
What does the visual representation of information through
networks do to our cognition? Does it enhance our perception
Research Questions: Summary
• Metastability, Adaptability, Robustness
(exploring metastable dynamics in social & cognitive networks)
• The dynamics of social and cognitive processes
(studying how cognitive and social networks evolve in time)
• The patterns of thoughts and interactions
(studying topologies of the networks)
• Simplifying and visualizing complexity
(using the graphs to represent social and cognitive phenomena)
Textexture: Text Network Visualization
The words are the nodes, their co-occurrences are the connections between them.
1. A text is submitted
2. The stopwords (“are”, “is”, “the” etc.) are removed
3. The words are brought to their morphemes (e.g. looked = look)
4. The ﬁrst scan represents every word as a node, their co-occurrence as
the edge in the graph.
5. The second scan is made using a “window” of 5 words, adding the
edges between the words, which are located within the same gap (to
account for short-term memory effects when reading).
6. The resulting graph is processed by Gephi, betweenness centrality and
community structure is calculated
7. The graph is visualized in Textexture using Sigma.Js
(Paranyushkin 2011, www.noduslabs.com)
Uses: Quick Text Summary, Excerpts
Provides visualization of a text’s or video lecture’s main concepts, clusters of meaning,
and how they relate to each other. Click on the nodes, to get the excerpts, click on the
timecode to open the video at exactly the place of the excerpt.
Uses: Dynamic Text Analysis
Evolution of US president’s inauguration speeches 1969-2013 - www.noduslabs.com
Uses: TNA Group Proﬁling
Visualization of ComplexNetworks lab’s research abstracts, 2010-2013.
More on http://noduslabs.com/cases/group-proﬁling-text-network-analysis/
ThisIsLike – Associative Thinking Net
Recommender System: Amazon
Recommender systems are driven by logical, improvement-focused ideology, always
proposing things that are “better”, “faster”, “more efﬁcient”. Could something like
www.thisislike.com offer an alternative to this way of thinking?
more on http://www.iaaibook.com
Constructed Social Situations
Creating real-life experiences that enact and exemplify various network concepts.
Social Situations: The Chair Game
People are invited to play a game, where they have strict rules of following one another.
These rules are gradually changing, in order help the participants experience various
possibilities for social network constellations in a real-life context.