I am a postdoctoral associate in the Department of Psychology at New York University, NY, USA, where I am affiliated with the Motivation Lab. My research interests are how people construct knowledge and beliefs about self, others, groups, and a society under uncertainty and disagreement, and how these psychological mechanisms in turn generate complex patterns of culture in terms of the magnitude, speed, and frequency of social change, diversity of beliefs, polarization, and schism. I particularly focus on the role of leniency toward minority dissent in these processes. In the motivation lab at NYU, I work on a number of different projects including the social psychology of intellectual humility and paradoxical knowing funded by John Templeton Foundation.
My scientific research has been innovative and interdisciplinary. This practice is grounded on the belief that social phenomena can hardly be well understood at a single level of analysis. Social systems are complex, with multiple levels from individuals through small groups to large societies. Many factors at different levels interact to influence one another over a long period of time, and different disciplines focus on different levels of analysis. To this end, I weave together psychology and other social sciences with a complex adaptive systems approach and use behavioral experiments, surveys, network analysis, and agent-based computational modeling.
One line of research investigates how micro-mechanisms of human psychology generate complex patterns of societal change in terms of the magnitute, speed, and frequency of social change, diversity of beliefs, and polarization. My first agent-based model found that indirect minority influence and internal consistency together can generate gradual social change and persistent diversity (Jung & Bramson 2014, 2016; Jung, Bramson, & Crano, 2018). 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 (Jung, Page, & Miller, 2017; Jung, Page, Miller, Bramson, & Crano, 2018; Jung, Bramson, Crano, Page, & Miller, forthcoming).
This research combining social psychology and complex systems science was acknowledged and valued in the psychological and computational social science communities and science journalism. I received the Best Paper Award at the 2016 Annual Conference of the Computational Social Science Society of the Americas. In three summers of 2017, 2018, and 2019, I was invited to the research workshops at Santa Fe Institute, and have been collaborating with scholars from epistemology, physics, and political science to further develop my minority model (2017 GWCSS, 2018 AGWCSS, and 2019 AGWCSS). In 2019, this research was featured in a BBC Future article, entitled “how the views of a few can determine a country’s fate.” Recently, this project was invited and accepted to publish in the American Psychologist Special Issue: Psychological Perspectives on Culture Change (Jung, Bramson, Crano, Page, & Miller, forthcoming).
Another 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 (uncertainty spillover effect). 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 (Jung, Hogg, & Choi, 2016, 2019; Jung, Hogg, & Lewis, 2018, Jung & Hogg, under review).
For the last 10 years, I have been collaborating with the computational social science group to understand how polarization can be produced through group deliberation and communications among cognitively palusable agents, and when a group of people can collectively reach or get close to truth. This group was originated at the University of Michigan Center for the Study of Complex Systems. This group, in which I am the only psychologist, has produced a number of publications. Our decade long collaboration has been recognized in the American Psychologist Special Issue: Multidisciplinary Research Teams (Jung et al., 2019).
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 New York, I worked as a visiting professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA, where I am affiliated with the Brain, Behavior, and Quantitative Science Program. 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".
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