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More on maps, terrains, and behaviors

  • R. Alexander Bentley (a1), Michael J. O'Brien (a2) and William A. Brock (a3) (a4)

Abstract

In a recent New York Times column (April 15, 2013), David Brooks discussed how the big-data agenda lacks a coherent framework of social theory – a deficiency that the Bentley, O'Brien, and Brock (henceforth BOB) model was meant to overcome. Or, stated less pretentiously, the model was meant as a first step in that direction – a map that hopefully would serve as a minimal, practical, and accessible framework that behavioral scientists could use to analyze big data. Rather than treating big data as a record of, and also a predictor of, where and when certain behaviors might take place, the BOB model is interested in what big data reveal about how decisions are being made, how collective behavior evolves from daily to decadal time scales, and how this varies across communities.

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