UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome Vishal Singh, NYU, Stern, to host a research seminar discussing ‘ Psychological Insights from Field Data’.
In every aspect of our daily lives, from the way we shop, communicate, or socialize, we are both consuming and creating vast amounts of information. More often than not, these daily activities create a trail of digitized data that is stored, mined, and analyzed by firms hoping to create valuable business intelligence. The objective of this talk is to demonstrate how such large databases can provide useful psychological insights pertinent to academic research, business practices, and public policy. The basic contention is that when aggregated over a large number of individuals, seemingly innocuous activities such as a web search or a casual trip to a neighborhood store can reflect aspects of our deep-rooted ideologies, values, and personality traits.
The talk will provide examples in three domains. The first part provides case studies on how supermarket scanner data (used extensively in marketing and economics) can be used to examine issues such as aging and decision making, hoarding behavior, and public health. The second part uses a large data set from the CDC to study life satisfaction in America. An interactive visualization on responses from over 1.5 million Americans can be found here: (http://bit.ly/1HVWVpm). Besides confirming several findings from the literature, the visualization provides many novel insights related to neighborhood characteristics and reactions to ‘adverse’ events. Finally, I will provide several examples on how data on web searches can be useful for research in social sciences on topics ranging from gun violence and health, to pornography and inference of personality traits.