I am a visiting professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA, where I am currently affiliated with the Brain, Behavior, and Quantitative Science Program.
My primary research interest is to understand multilevel causal links between (a) social groups at various hierarcical levels and (b) human beliefs and behaviors. I particularily focus on the role of minority dissent in these processes. To investigate iterations over time, I weave together psychology and other social science with a complex adaptive systems approach. I use behavioral experiments, network analysis, and agent-based computational modeling.
One line of research explicates causal links among uncertainty, group identification, and societal structural change. When majority members face uncertainty about a large society they live in, they adhere more strongly to ingroup norms, and vice versa and/or define societal norms with their ingroup norms. As a result, majority members can effectively deal with uncertainty at both ingroup and society levels. However, when minority members face uncertainty about a large society, they perceptually accentuate differences between a societal norm and their minority ingroup norm, and thus further marginalize themselves and feel uncertain about their ingroup's future, fate, and identity. This dual uncertainty leads to fragmentation among minority members - some members stay in a larger society and others leave (e.g., Balkanization), which generates more complex group boundary structures and cultural patterns.
Another line of research investigates how micro-mechanisms of human cognition/psychology generate complex patterns of societal change in terms of the magnitute, speed, and frequency of social change, diversity of beliefs, and poarlization. My first agent-based model found that indirect minority influence and internal consistency together can generate gradual social change and persistent diversity. My recent model identified different threshold values of leniency required for minority influence to generate social change in different social networks. This suggests that we need to consider both leniency toward minority and social structure together to achieve sustainable changes and diversity in our society.
My scientific research has been interdisciplinary since I participated in the Complex Adaptive Systems Modeling course, taught by Dr. Scott Page, at the ICPSR summer school of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in the Summers of 2011 and 2012. Since then, I have been collaborating with Dr. Aaron Bramson, and also with the Computational Social Philosophy Lab on polarization. In three summers of 2017, 2018, and 2019, I was invited to the Graduate and Advanced Alumni Workshops in Computational Social Science and Modeling and Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute in Santa Fe, NM (2017 GWCSS, 2018 AGWCSS, and 2019 AGWCSS), and have been collaborating with Dr. Scott Page and Dr. John Miller.
Some of conference symposia I organized include "Modeling the Psychological and Social Dynamics of Beliefs" at the 32nd Annual Convention of Association for Psychological Science (APS) in May 2020, Chicago, IL, the USA (canceled due to the covid-19 pandemic), "Changes in Group Structures, Uncertainty and Continuity" at the 17th General Meeting of the European Association of Social Psychology in July 2014 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; and "Integrate or Separate? Collective Action in Uncertain Times" at the 10th Biennial Conference of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, June 2014 in Portland, OR, the USA. I chaired the Social Social colloquial series in the year of 2017-2018. I have been a program committee for the Computational Social Science Society of the Americas since 2017.
2016 was a lucky year for me. I received the APA-USNC International Travel and Mentoring Award from the American Psychological Association, the Research Scientist of the Year Award from the Department of Psychology at Claremont Graduate University, and the Best Paper Award from the Computational Social Science Society of the Americas.
I was born in Seoul, South Korea. Before coming to Lawrence, I received my PhD in Social Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. I studied Biology B.S. at the Seoul National University and Social Psychology M.A. at the Sungkyunkwan University, both in Seoul. I worked as an editor for the Toto Book publisher. As part of this work, I formulated an environmental education program for youth and helped Dae-Kwon Hwang to run the Wild Grass School. Later I edited Mr. Hwang's related book, ''Wild Grass School".
You can click here to download my CV.