Social Complexity

Category: News Page 1 of 2

Variety of opinions is crucial for fostering trust in vaccination

In our recent research published in Scientific Reports (Springer Nature) we analyzed data from more than 140 countries to explore why neutrals are usually more attracted by the anti-vaccine side. Our analysis included cutting-edge methods from Social Influence, Agent-Based Modeling and Attitude Networks!

We know that the more similar two people are, the more they will influence each other. The “pro-vaccine” are too far from the neutrals. However, people in between can be close to both, connecting the two in a chain of influence.

The chain of influence

We analyzed this idea of the chain by using attitudes networks. By exploring the network we found that countries with a weaker chain performed worse in terms of vaccination coverage and trust.

Agent-Based Model of social influence helped us in connecting the data with the theory. Using them we confirmed that social influence models would predict as well worse results when the chain is weak. Furthermore, they highlighted the dynamic nature of the process!

Indeed, countries with a weaker chain will not immediately perform worse, but only in the following year. This is due to the fact that trust needs time to spread across the system.

So if we are planning policies to improve trust we should be careful in doing so without breaking the chain. If this happens, we may observe an immediate increase in trust, but this may be quickly eroded as we left the neutrals behind.

In our paper we also simulate that it is possible to make policies which will boost trust while even enhancing the link with the neutrals!

If you are interested check out the actual paper:

ISPP 2021 presentation

You can download my presentation at ISPP2021 here:

Or you can just enjoy this preview image!

A new identity

I have been thinking for a long time about what to do with this website, as well as with my youtube channel. The main problem was that I wanted to distinguish between my work and my communication activities.

However, as many academics, I pretty much have no time. This means that it is already hard for me to have one website. Two of them would be simply impossible.

Because of that, I decided to merge them, creating this new identity for the website. From now on we will have both information about me and what I am working on, as well as more general information.

I also came to this conclusion as many topics I wanted to discuss were someway both work-related and also for a broader audience. This was finally resulting in duplicate articles and a lot of useless work.

I hope I will be able to distinguish between technical content and what, instead, should be aimed at beginners. I will update quite soon with a method for distinguishing between them.

In any case, welcome back to Dino Carpentras + Social Complexity!

Social Simulation Fest @work

Together with the other members of ESSA@work we organized a track at the Social Simulation Fest.

For people who do not know about it, ESSA is the European Social Simulation Association. Several events are organized by ESSA always focused on the topic of social simulations.

In most of these events ESSA@work produces a track based on work in progress. Indeed, while all other tracks focus on completed projects, we focus on the stage before. In this way we create a friendly environment in which people can discuss about their project and receive feedback from experts.

I am quite proud to say that this event was a great success. I really wanted to thank the other organizers, the experts and the speakers.

See you in September!

On the news for the fellowship

The UL Link magazine (circulated with the Irish Times newspaper) features an article about me and the other Marie Curie fellows. I am happy to be part of such an amazing group!

Link: https://edition.pagesuite… (pag 32)

Increasing the degrees of freedoms in agent-based models

A new preprint came out today from a work I developed together with Alejandro Dinkelberg and Prof. Mike Quayle at UL, Limerick.

Opinion dynamics is a field focused on understanding the evolution of people’s opinions. Within this field, opinions are usually represented as numbers without any other requirement. So we started wondering: can this have some implications on the models?

For example, as we convert meters to feet, we can also convert different scales for measuring people’s opinions. How do these models change when we change their “units?”

From our study, it appears that while physics equations are unaffected by changes of the variable (you just need to rescale) this is not true for opinion dynamics models.

Indeed, we found that scale conversion (even in the case of perfect measurement) can totally change the model’s dynamics. This result in a change on the final outcome up to 100%. Furthermore, by changing scale, we were able to convert one model into another one.

If you are interested in this research, you can find it here:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 891347.

A brand new science vlog!

There is something that really makes me feel bad about science, and is the way it is communicated. Do not get me wrong, I do not think that science communicators are doing a bad job. I think the one working poorly is the system itself.

Indeed, today, if you want to succeed as a science communicator, you need to produce what people like. And people like the amazing part of science. They want to know facts, they want to discover more, and definitely, they do not want to spend hours in a lab trying to figure out why a device is not working properly. And this is fine!

The problem is that we never say to people that science is not much about knowing things, but mostly about asking interesting questions, working tons of hours to make those questions better, then, finding that all those questions do not make any sense, despair, find a new question that actually makes sense and, with a bit of luck, also a good answer.

To put it in a less dramatic tone science is not about knowing the right things, but about thinking in the right way. And if there is something that science can give to the common people is not how many neutrons can be found in helium isotopes, but to think like a scientist. Think critically, ask good questions and distinguish good answers from the bad ones.

All of this to say: I made a new vlog to show the behind the scenes of science. I hope it will be useful!

An exclusive competition

During this weird summer dedicated to starting a new career, working from home and moving to a new country (with all the COVID-related mess of travelling) someway I found myself participating in a very interesting competition.

The MSCA Falling Walls Lab is a competition in which each participant has to explain his whole project in just 3 minutes. Such a task is extremely challenging, but also fascinating. Indeed, it pushes people to re-think about their entire project and take a completely new perspective: how many details do you think can fit in a 3 minutes speech?

Unfortunately, I was not able to win (still a long way to go!) but I was still honoured to be in the top 5%. Especially considering the fact that the success rate of the Marie Curie applications is below 15%.

But what got me excited the most, is the fact that this presentation made me realize the strong connection between agent-based models and videogames. A connection that surely I am going to explore!

With the EU vs (the) Virus

I’m glad to announce that from today I will be participating in the EU vs Virus Hackaton. A 3-days hackathon dedicated to finding innovative solutions to fight the problems caused by the current epidemics.

Personally, I will be looking for developing solutions which will exploit social complexity. If you are interested in participating, just register to and join our forces! 💪💪💪

Fighting blindness

Nature Photonics (i.f. = 38) published an article I worked on. The article focuses on an innovative technique for observing the retina at the cellular level, allowing for early detection of eye-diseases (and thus, preventing blindness).

I personally developed the mathematical model for this project, which was also published in Optics Express and in my PhD thesis. This model allowed us to understand what determined the image formation process and how to maximize image quality (reaching the cellular level).

This joint publication was developed by the team working at École Polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, under the supervision of Prof. Christophe Moser and Prof. Francine Behar-Cohen.

We also issued a worldwide patent based on this technology and, some members of the team also made a startup.


Nature’s article:

Optics Express article:

PhD thesis:


Moser’s Lab:

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén