Professor Jesse Hoey’s paper wins two awards from American Sociological Association

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Professor Jesse Hoey and coauthors Tobias Schröder from Potsdam University of Applied Sciences and Kimberly Rogers from Dartmouth College have won two awards for their paper, “Modeling dynamic identities and uncertainty in social interactions: Bayesian affect control theory.”

Published in American Sociological Review, the paper received the 2017 Outstanding Publication Award from the American Sociological Association’s section on mathematical sociology as well as the Outstanding Recent Contribution in Social Psychology Paper Award from the society’s social psychology section.

The authors proposed a generalization of affect control theory — how people maintain meaning through their actions and interpretation of events — using Bayesian probability theory. Using a series of mathematical computer simulations, they illustrated how this generalization resolves several issues within sociology and social psychology by balancing cultural consensus with individual deviations from shared meanings, balancing meaning verification with the learning processes reflective of change, and accounting for noise in communicating identity. 

“Jesse’s research on affect control theory helps bridge the chasm between the social sciences and computer science,” said Mark Giesbrecht, Director of the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. “His research illustrates how computational models can be brought to bear to better understand complex social behaviour — how individual identities develop and how these identities interact socially.”

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