Computational Social Psychology (Paperback) book cover

Computational Social Psychology

Edited by Robin R. Vallacher, Stephen J. Read, Andrzej Nowak

© 2017 – Routledge

382 pages

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About the Book

Computational Social Psychology showcases a new approach to social psychology that enables theorists and researchers to specify social psychological processes in terms of formal rules that can be implemented and tested using the power of high speed computing technology and sophisticated software. This approach allows for previously infeasible investigations of the multi-dimensional nature of human experience as it unfolds in accordance with different temporal patterns on different timescales. In effect, the computational approach represents a rediscovery of the themes and ambitions that launched the field over a century ago.

The book brings together social psychologists with varying topical interests who are taking the lead in this redirection of the field. Many present formal models that are implemented in computer simulations to test basic assumptions and investigate the emergence of higher-order properties; others develop models to fit the real-time evolution of people’s inner states, overt behavior, and social interactions. Collectively, the contributions illustrate how the methods and tools of the computational approach can investigate, and transform, the diverse landscape of social psychology.


'Computational Social Psychology is a scientific gem. In a world of constant change, we desperately need new theoretical models and tools to understand the complexity of human dynamics. This volume, edited by the world’s best dynamical social psychologists, with chapters from global experts on topics that span different levels of analysis, promises to change the way we think about—and study—human behavior.' - Michele J. Gelfand, University of Maryland, USA

'Our Big Data era demands Big Theory – theory acknowledging the core insight of social psychology, that human behavior flows from interactions among networks of individuals, dynamically influencing each other. As this volume argues, adequately complex theories require computational implementation, not vague verbal statements; unaided intuition cannot derive precise predictions.' - Eliot Smith, Indiana University, USA

'Computational modelling is an increasingly important way of doing science, and in some disciplines it has become the dominant method to understand the world. This important book shows how computational models can contribute to advances in social psychology that respect the complexity of human interactions.' - Nigel Gilbert, University of Surrey, UK

'Computational Social Psychology is a volume the field has been waiting for. It provides a launchpad for new theoretical approaches that can cope with the complexity of social reasoning and interpersonal behavior.' - Keith J. Holyoak, University of California, Los Angeles, USA

Table of Contents



1. Rethinking Human Experience: The Promise of Computational Social Psychology Robin R. Vallacher, Andrzej Nowak, and Stephen J. Read

I. Intrapersonal Dynamics

2. Virtual Personalities: A Neural Network Model of the Structure and Dynamics of Personality Stephen J. Read, Vita Droutman, and Lynn C. Miller

3. Using Connectionist Models to Capture the Distinctive Psychological Structure of Impression Formation Brian M. Monroe, Tei Laine, Swati Gupta, and Ilya Farber

4. The Whole Elephant: Toward Psychological Integration of the Individual as a Complex System Jennifer Rose Talevich

5. Computational Modeling of Health Behavior Mark G. Orr and Daniel Chen

II. Interpersonal Dynamics

6. Interaction Dominant Dynamics, Timescale Enslavement, and the Emergence of Social Behavior Brian A. Eiler, Rachel W. Kallen, and Michael J. Richardson

7. Computational Temporal Interpersonal Emotion Systems Emily A. Butler, Jinyan Guan, Andrew Predoehl, Ernesto Brau, Kyle Simek, and Kobus Barnard

8. Mapping Co-Regulation in Social Relations through Exploratory Topology Analysis Jonathan E. Butner, Arwen A. Behrends, and Brian R. Baucom

9. Dynamics of Synchrony and Joint Action Kerry L. Marsh

10. From Interaction to Synchronization in Social Relations Robin R. Vallacher and Andrzej Nowak

III. Collective Dynamics

11. Simulating the Social Networks in Human Goal Striving James D. Westaby and DaHee Shon

12. Computational Models of Social Influence and Collective Behavior Robert J. MacCoun

13. Modeling Cultural Dynamics Yoshihisa Kashima, Michael Kirley, Alexander Stivala, and Garry Robins

14. Models Are Stupid, and We Need More of Them Paul E. Smaldino

15. Big Data in Psychological Research David Serfass, Andrzej Nowak, and Ryne Sherman

16. The Future of Computational Social Psychology Andrzej Nowak and Robin R. Vallacher

About the Series

Frontiers of Social Psychology

Frontiers of Social Psychology is a new series of domain-specific handbooks. The purpose of each volume is to provide readers with a cutting-edge overview of the most recent theoretical, methodological, and practical developments in a substantive area of social psychology, in greater depth than is possible in general social psychology handbooks. The Editors and contributors are all internationally renowned scholars, whose work is at the cutting-edge of research.

Scholarly, yet accessible, the volumes in the Frontiers series are an essential resource for senior undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers, and practitioners, and are suitable as texts in advanced courses in specific sub-areas of social psychology.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Computer Science
COMPUTERS / Neural Networks
PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology
PSYCHOLOGY / Research & Methodology
PSYCHOLOGY / Social Psychology