The Question: How are large groups able to work together successfully without the guidance of a leader?

A common theme across all of my projects is the ways in which large groups work together to achieve a common goal. Whether it’s humans or honey bees, individuals coordinate their actions and achieve greater feats at faster speeds, even without an explicit leader.

The bees

Honey bees are fascinating creatures. Even though their cognitive capabilities are limited, they demonstrate seamless action coordination. They divide tasks among themselves and are able to redistribute their workforce based on hive needs and external conditions. Many of my research questions focus on how we, as humans, can be more like the bees when working as groups. I investigate how multimodal communication impacts worker coordination and productivity.

Social Media and Social Activism

As social media has become an integral part daily life, individuals have begun to harness these platforms to advance their ideas and political agendas. Through my work with Dr. Leah Windsor, Dr. Alistair Windsor, and Dr. Alex Paxton, I have investigated how individuals use social media as an alternative way to mobilize. We are working to identify just how much online activity actually reflects real-world activism.

Fractal Fiction

Fractality, nested self-similarity of structure at different timescales, is evident across many phenomena. The degree of fractality has been found to be a good indication of performance level and genre of movies (Blau, Petrusz, & Carello, 2013). One question that my collaborators and I are investigating is how the fractal structure of speech in live theatre contributes to the overall performance impression by an audience.