Computational Social Science
Lab at Penn

CSS unites computer science, statistics, and social science to solve challenging real-world problems using digital data and platforms. Through mass collaboration with industry, government, and civil society, our research generates insights that advance basic science in the service of practical applications.

Example visualization from the YouTube Politics Dashboard

FEATURED

Radicalization at a Glance: PennMAP Launches Interactive Data Dashboard

The new dashboard is designed to make the Lab’s research on YouTube radicalization accessible and engaging to the general public — and, in the process, forms the first step towards revolutionizing research communication.

Computational Social Science Lab at Penn

CSS unites computer science, statistics, and social science to solve challenging real-world problems using novel theories. Through our mass collaboration with industry, government, and civil society, our path-breaking research generates solutions which are both innovative and practical.

News

The YouTube Algorithm Isn’t Radicalizing People
The YouTube Algorithm Isn’t Radicalizing People

About a quarter of Americans get their news on YouTube. With its billions of users and hours upon hours of content, YouTube is one the largest online media platforms in the world.

In recent years, there has been a popular narrative in the media that videos from highly partisan, conspiracy theory-driven YouTube channels radicalize young Americans and that YouTube’s recommendation algorithm leads users down a path of increasingly radical content.

New Insights on Common Sense Take the Spotlight on Canadian Radio
New Insights on Common Sense Take the Spotlight on Canadian Radio

Mark E. Whiting was featured on Quirks and Quarks, a science and technology podcast on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) radio. The host, Bob McDonald, is a renowned Canadian science journalist who interviewed Whiting on his recent milestone. Their conversation, “Common sense is not that common, but it is widely distributed,” was aired on January 19, 2024.

The commonalities of common sense
The commonalities of common sense

Throughout human history, survival and the formation of complex societies have heavily depended on knowledge. Equally crucial are the assumptions about what others perceive as true or false, namely common sense. This is evident in everyday situations like adhering to road rules: Pedestrians naturally avoid walking into traffic, while drivers refrain from driving on sidewalks to bypass congestion.

Over the past 100 years, social science has generated a tremendous number of theories on the topics of individual and collective human behaviour. However, it has been much less successful at reconciling the innumerable inconsistencies and contradictions among these competing explanations.

Duncan Watts
CSSLab Founder

Over the past 100 years, social science has generated a tremendous number of theories on the topics of individual and collective human behaviour. However, it has been much less successful at reconciling the innumerable inconsistencies and contradictions among these competing explanations.

Duncan Watts
CSS Lab Founder

Researchers & Staff

Meet the CSSLab