Professor of Sociology at the University of Groningen
My main research addresses how cooperation and social integration in human society are shaped by and emerge from the dynamics of interdependent actions of multiple individuals, generating often unintended and sometimes undesirable outcomes. More specifically I apply computational modelling, in particular agent-based models, to understand how segregation phenomena in networks, schools or neighborhoods can arise, how opinion polarization may be connected to segregation and social or ethnic diversity of a society, or how cooperation in work teams can suffer or benefit from diversity. In my team at the Department of Sociology, University of Groningen, we also develop and apply empirical tests of such models and study opinion dynamics, interethnic relations, social influence dynamics and cooperation with on- and offline experiments, social network data in multiethnic classrooms, or field studies of community energy initiatives.
I am involved as participating researcher in a project developing agent-based models of school choice and primary school segregation, jointly initiated by Michael Lees, Willem Boterman, myself and Peter Sloot. A core question of this project is whether and under which conditions school segregation in a concrete urban environment can be predicted and understood as unintended outcome from the aggregation of multiple interdependent school choices made by households and schools.
During my fellowship, I will regularly visit IAS to work on the school segregation project and to explore new interdisciplinary collaborations with members of the IAS community addressing topics related to my interests in studying, e.g., social segregation, cooperation, effects of diversity or polarisation.