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Researchers from North Carolina State University and Northwestern University are outlining a new approach to behavioral research that draws on experimental studies and computer models to offer new insights into organizational and group behavior."Social research has a history of using both small-scale experiments and computer models to explore questions about human behavior -- but there are very few examples of how to use these two techniques in concert," says William Rand, a computer scientist and assistant professor of business management in NC State's Poole College of Management who is co-lead author of a paper describing the work.A model organism is a non-human species that is extensively studied to understand particular biological phenomena, with the expectation that discoveries made in the organism model will provide insight into the workings of other organisms.In researching human disease, model organisms allow for better understanding the disease process without the added risk of harming an actual human.Most of us are familiar with the biblical account of the fallen angels found in Genesis 6.
As the population density in the group rises, the group as a whole produces fewer babies -- this is no surprise. Recent years have seen an explosion in the use of mathematical models to integrate insights emerging from studies of the brain and behavior.The basic conclusion is that the situation is improving.One earlier complaint that access to data repositories was difficult is becoming less prevalent and the percentage of papers including validation is increasing. Zelkowitz is a research professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland in College Park Maryland. Zelkowitz received the MS and Ph D degrees from Cornell University in Computer Science in 19, respectively and the BS in mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1967."This paper details an approach that we feel capitalizes on the best aspects of both research techniques to advance our understanding of the behavior of large groups and advance the field," says Ned Smith, an associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, who is co-lead author of the paper. Researchers design and conduct experiments aimed at addressing a behavioral question, such as how a small group tries to solve a particular problem.The data from those experiments can then be fed into a model, allowing researchers to predict how this behavior would manifest itself on a larger scale.