Mirta Galesic

Professor, Santa Fe Institute

Mirta Galesic is a professor at the Santa Fe Institute, external faculty at the Complexity Science Hub in Vienna, Austria, and associate researcher at the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the University of Potsdam, Germany. She studies how simple cognitive mechanisms interact with properties of the external environment to produce seemingly complex social phenomena. In one line of research, she investigates how apparent cognitive biases in social judgments emerge as a product of the interplay of well-adapted minds and the statistical structure of social environments. In another, she studies how collective performance depend on the interaction of group decision strategies and network structures. A third line of research investigates opinion dynamics in real-world societies using cognitively-enriched models from statistical physics. And, she studies how people understand and cope with uncertainty and complexity inherent in many everyday decisions. https://www.santafe.edu/people/profile/mirta-galesic

Mirta is speaking at

Platform: Zoom webinar CASW New Horizons in Science
October 22, 2020
4:00 pm - 4:30 pm


  • Mirta Galesic (Speaker) Professor, Santa Fe Institute
  • Joshua Garland (Speaker) Applied Complexity Fellow, Santa Fe Institute
  • Duncan Watts (Speaker) Stevens University Professor, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • W. Wayt Gibbs (Moderator) New Horizons in Science program director, CASW


Watch the prerecorded talks for this session beginning on Oct. 15. (Video embargoed until 4:00 p.m. ET 10/22/20.) Then tune in here on Oct. 22 for live Q&A with the speakers.
We in the mainstream media, stung by unfair tarring with the "fake news" label, are hypersensitive to the growth of actual misinformation online. And it's galling to see our Twitter feeds and the comment streams beneath our stories polluted by bigoted, chauvinistic, and sometimes threatening snark and vitriol. But new research suggests this front-row view to the downsides of free speech may have distorted our perspectives on these problems. Powerful observation biases skew what we as science writers see, compared to the general public. 

In this session, researchers who have assembled big data sets to study these questions will present more objective views of the consumption of misinformation by the public and of how people respond to organized hate speech. The results of their quantitative analyses of large-scale, longitudinal studies challenge conventional wisdom about these phenomena.

Two scientists from the Santa Fe Institute who have used AI to classify nearly 200,000 Twitter conversations, spanning four years of activity on political accounts and large news sites in Germany, will share answers to a crucial question: is it better to ignore trolls or to combat them with counter-speech?

Then a data scientist at Penn who previously worked at Yahoo and Microsoft Research will update us on what his team's study of media consumption among large, nationally representative audiences in the U.S. reveals about how often Americans are exposed to truly fake news—and news of all kinds. The problems of ensuring an informed electorate, this research suggests, are quite different from what most of us have assumed.

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