NIMBioS logo banner. DySoC logo banner.

DySoC/NIMBioS Seminar Series

DySoC and NIMBioS are hosting a series of seminars on topics related to social complexity. Monthly seminars will be held at NIMBioS in Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd. Light refreshments will be served in Room 205 beginning 30 minutes before each talk. Faculty and students from across the UT community are welcome to join us.

S. Carrignon photo.

Speaker: Dr. Simon Carrignon, NIMBioS Postdoctoral Fellow

Time/Date: Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 3:30*

Location: Room 206, Claxton Building, 1122 Volunteer Blvd.

Topic: Content-dependent biases in social learning strategies: A multiscale approach

Abstract: The content of what we learn shapes the evolution of human culture and society. It does so by biasing our decisions and the way we receive and transmit cultural information. Detecting the impact of such bias on large scale and historical changes is a challenge: such processes involve local interactions that can be influenced by many other factors, from random unpredictable events to environmental ones. In this presentation I propose a way to quantify the influence of content-dependent biases in cases of large scale cultural changes, using a combination of Agent-Based Models and Bayesian Inference. I will first present a theoretical exploration of this impact and then describe two case studies: one that explores the role of social transmission biases in Twitter, the second that focuses on changes in tableware use in the Roman Empire (200BC – AD300). This presentation will illustrate how the knowledge we have about local decision-making processes such as Social Learning Strategies can be used to understand large scale changes in scenarios implying very different geographical and temporal areas. At the same time this will exemplify how this approach can help us to answer archaeological and historical questions, as well as to shed new light on the exploration of actual and potentially crucial social changes.

Dr. Simon Carrignon is a postdoctoral fellow with NIMBioS and the Center for the Dynamics of Social Complexity working with DySoC faculty members Sergey Gavrilets, Alex Bentley, and Suzie Allard to establish new transdisciplinary collaborations. Carrignon n earned a Ph.D. in Biomedicine from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain.

*Join us for refreshments at 3 p.m.

Seminar Flyer (pdf) Seminar Flyer: TBA

Video icon.

This seminar was streamed live. Live-streamed seminars are archived for later viewing on NIMBIoS' YouTube channel. Watch seminar online.

For more information about this and other NIMBioS Seminars, visit

1122 Volunteer Blvd., Suite 106
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996-3410
PH: (865) 974-9334
FAX: (865) 974-9300
Contact NIMBioS

From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
©2008-2021 National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis. All rights reserved.