Time for Change: New Venues for Modeling Human Dynamics with Both “Big” and “Small” Data

October 5 @ 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm CDT
poster on Dr. Nilam Ram's talk

Title: Time for Change: New Venues for Modeling Human Dynamics with Both “Big” and “Small” Data

Talk abstract: The devices in our pockets and on our wrists often demand our immediate attention. They also facilitate full-scale reconsideration of how we study and optimize human behavior. Daily and digital life have merged. Data are everywhere – opening new opportunities to observe, probe, and modify every imaginable aspect of human behavior – at a scale we never imagined. Using collections of intensive longitudinal data from survey panels, experience sampling studies, social media, laboratory observations, and our new Screenomics paradigm, I illustrate how consideration of zooms, tensions, and switches (ZOOTS) is transforming our understanding of behavioral change. Along the way, I develop calls for more flexible definitions of time, fluidity and diversity of methodological approach, and engagement with science that adds good into the world.

Bio: Nilam’s research grows out of a history of studying change. After completing his undergraduate study of economics, he worked as a currency trader, frantically tracking and trying to predict the movement of world markets as they jerked up, down and sideways. Later, he moved on to the study of human movement, kinesiology, and eventually psychological processes - with a specialization in longitudinal research methodology. Generally, Nilam studies how short-term changes (e.g., processes such as learning, information processing, emotion regulation, etc.) develop across the life span, and how longitudinal study designs contribute to generation of new knowledge. Current projects include examinations of age-related change in children’s self- and emotion-regulation; patterns in minute-to-minute and day-to-day progression of adolescents’ and adults’ emotions; and change in contextual influences on well-being during old age. He is developing a variety of study paradigms that use recent developments in data science and the intensive data streams arriving from social media, mobile sensors, and smartphones to study change at multiple time scales. Nilam has published over 200 papers in top venues, including a recent piece in Nature that serves as the basis for today’s lecture.   


Start Date: October 5 @ 2:00pm

End Date: October 5 @ 3:00pm