. 24/7 Space News .
Accelerating discovery with new tools for next generation social science
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 14, 2016

The program will draw upon and build across a wide array of disciplines-including social sciences like sociology, economics, political science, anthropology, and psychology, as well as information and computer sciences, physics, biology and math.

The explosive growth of global digital connectivity has opened new possibilities for designing and conducting social science research. Once limited by practical constraints to experiments involving just a few dozen participants-often university students or other easily available groups-or to correlational studies of large datasets without any opportunity for determining causation, scientists can now engage thousands of diverse volunteers online and explore an expanded range of important topics and questions.

If new tools and methods for harnessing virtual or alternate reality and massively distributed platforms could be developed and objectively validated, many of today's most important and vexing challenges in social science-such as identifying the primary drivers of social cooperation, instability and resilience-might be made more tractable, with benefits for domains as broad as national security, public health, and economics.

To begin to assess the research opportunities provided by today's web-connected world and advanced technologies, DARPA has launched its Next Generation Social Science (NGS2) program. The program aims to build and evaluate new methods and tools to advance rigorous, reproducible social science studies at scales necessary to develop and validate causal models of human social behaviors.

The program will draw upon and build across a wide array of disciplines-including social sciences like sociology, economics, political science, anthropology, and psychology, as well as information and computer sciences, physics, biology and math.

As an initial focus, NGS2 will challenge researchers to develop and use these new tools and methods to identify causal mechanisms of "collective identity" formation-how a group of individuals becomes a unified whole, and how under certain circumstances that community breaks down into a chaotic mix of disconnected individuals.

"Social science has done a remarkable job of helping us understand ourselves as the highly social creatures we are, but the field has long acknowledged and rued some frustrating research limitations, including technical and logistical limits to experimentally studying large, representative populations and the challenges of replicating key studies to better understand the limits of our knowledge," said Adam Russell, DARPA program manager.

"As a result, it's been difficult for social scientists to determine what variables matter most in explaining their observations of human social systems and to move from documenting correlation to identifying causation."

On top of those methodological and analytic limitations, Russell said, the field is inherently challenged because of its subject matter: human beings, with all their complex variability and seeming unpredictability. "Physicists have joked about how much more difficult their field would be if atoms or electrons had personalities, but that's exactly the situation faced by social scientists," he said.

By developing and applying new methods and models to larger, more diverse, and more representative groups of individuals-such as through web-based global gaming and alternate reality platforms-NGS2 seeks to validate new tools that may empower social science in the same way that sophisticated telescopes and microscopes have helped advance astronomy and biology.

In its initial quest to understand what variables matter most when it comes to collective identity and related issues of cooperative behavior and cultural norms, NGS2 will fund researchers to enhance three core social science capabilities: predictive modeling and hypothesis generation, innovative experimental methods and platforms, and interpretation and reproducibility of research results.

The program will rely solely on publicly available data as well as on results gathered from studies using gaming and other platforms in which fully informed participants have consented to be part of the research. As with all federally funded human subjects research, NGS2 protocols will be evaluated in advance by independent scientific and ethical review boards.

A Proposers Day is scheduled for March 22 in Arlington, Virginia. Details are available here.

A Broad Agency Announcement describing NGS2's goals and methods will be posted in the near future on FedBizOps here.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Less connectivity improves innovation
Tempe AZ (SPX) Mar 07, 2016
Many technologies used in human societies are beyond the inventive capacities of individuals. Instead, technologies result from a cumulative process where innovations are gradually added across many generations - think from the wheel to modern cars or from early planes to space shuttles. Previous work in the field of cultural evolution suggested that larger and more connected groups should ... read more

Permanent Lunar Colony Possible in 10 Years

China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon

NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

Europe's New Mars Mission Bringing NASA Radios Along

Europe, Russia embark on search for life on Mars

Close comet flyby threw Mars' magnetic field into chaos

ExoMars 2016 - The heat is on

Astronaut Scott Kelly to retire in April

Greece tourism insists on sunny outlook amid refugee crisis

Planetary Science Institute funded for expanded education public outreach effort

NASA tests inflatable heat shield technology for deep space missions

China's ambition after space station

Sky is the limit for China's national strategy

Aim Higher: China Plans to Send Rover to Mars in 2020

China's lunar probe sets record for longest stay

Marshall supports 15 years of ISS science discoveries

Space station astronauts ham it up to inspire student scientists

Roscosmos-NASA Contract on US Astronauts Delivery to ISS on Restructuring

NASA station leads way for improved measurements of Earth orientation, shape

ISRO launches PSLV C32, India's sixth navigation satellite

Assembly of Russia's Soyuz Rocket With Earth-Sensing Satellite Completed

Ariane 5 launch contributes to Ariane 6 development

SpaceX launches SES-9 satellite to GEO; but booster landing fails

NASA's K2 mission: Kepler second chance to shine

Star eruptions create and scatter elements with Earth-like composition

Astronomers discover two new 'hot Jupiter' exoplanets

Sharpest view ever of dusty disc around aging star

Total invisibility cloak an impossibility, scientists say

Unpacking space radiation to control astronaut and earthbound cancer risk

Super-clear synapses at super resolutions

Eco-friendly tech could transform European aluminum industry by 2050

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.