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10% = majority?

According to a study by scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, once 10% of a population shares a common belief, that belief will be held by the majority of the population. The study’s model of how beliefs spread through a population showed an exponential increase of the rate of growth at 10%. “Specifically, we show that […]

Linguistic Change in Online Communities

My article (No Country for Old Members: User Lifecycle and Linguistic Change in Online Communities, Danescu-Niculescu-Mizil et al, 2013) talks about the connection between user behavior at the individual level and at the community level, how local changes in an individual’s language affect and respond to linguistic trends of a whole social network. The researchers looked […]

Game Theory in this Election Season

The American election is the perfect game. There are players, strategies and payoffs. However, this game affects not only the players but the lives of 300 million people. In less than one month, these people will flock to the polls choosing a candidate to become their leader. These decisions have the potential to change millions […]

Are You Smarter Than Other New York Times Readers?

Because unfortunately I’m not. The New York Times interactive article linked in this post allows the reader to pick a number that they think will be “two-thirds of the average of all numbers.” For instance, if everyone were to pick the value 50, you would win by picking 33. However, keep in mind that if […]

The Enemy of Your Enemy

We all have heard the phrase “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” in one form or the other. It is a very simple and intuitive concept – two parties should work together against a common enemy – which is the basis of many modern international relations. The Arthashastra – an ancient manuscript dating […]

42nd Street: Braess’s Paradox

I was interested in finding a resource on Braess’s paradox and came across a New York Times article called “What if They Closed 42nd Street and Nobody Noticed?” In the first lecture of Networks, we briefly mentioned 42nd street as an example of Braess’s paradox, before we had even read or learned about it. The backwards […]

Risks and Rewards of Celebrity Endorsements

Risks and Rewards of Celebrity Endorsements By Anita Elberse http://www.cnn.com/2009/OPINION/12/16/elberse.athlete.endorsements.tiger.woods/ In “Risks and rewards of celebrity endorsments,” Anita Elberse discusses why firms continue to invest in celebrity endorsers despite how easily media can tarnish their images. In one study, Elberse analyzed hundreds of athlete endorsements and found an average of 4% in sales 6 months […]

The Prisoner’s Dilemma in Oil Production

Game Theory lives in everyday life.  We have seen examples of it in international relations, the market, nature and now in oil production. A recent article published in Seeking Alpha, a crowd-sourced content service for financial markets, reveals how the prisoner’s dilemma has contributed to the low oil prices that has hurt the economies of […]

Game Theory Insights into Britain’s EU Drama

Richard Fairchild’s article, “Game Theory Offers Better Way Forward in Britain’s  EU Drama” provides valuable insights to use game theory to view the referendum on Britain’s EU membership. He introduced the idea of a “non-credible threat” that he says the British Prime Minister is making. Cameron asserted that “if the other leaders agreed to the […]

Game Theory of Parenting

The following article offers ways for parents to have an easier time controlling and nurturing their children using the basic principles of game theory.  Although none of these parenting tactics are guaranteed to work on children, they’re helpful suggestions that are meant to assist parents in getting their children to eat well and go to […]

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