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Human–Computer Interaction  

Amon Rapp

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is a multidisciplinary field of research that focuses on the understanding and design of interaction between humans and computers. HCI has its roots in Human Factors and Ergonomics and cognitive sciences, but over the years it has underwent a variety of deep transformations, by importing a variety of approaches, theories, and methods from other disciplines, like anthropology and sociology. Theoretical perspectives like phenomenology, social practices theories, and grounded theory, are now fruitfully used by HCI researchers to interpret the behavior of people interacting with technology and ground the design of new interactive systems. In the same vein, HCI techniques for understanding, designing, and evaluating the interaction span from ethnography, semi-structured interviews, participatory design, and scenario-based design, to controlled experiments, usability testing, and research through design methods. At the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century, HCI tackles practically every aspect of people’s lives, including matters like, techno-spirituality, global crises, death, sexuality, physical and cognitive disabilities, as well as technologies like wearable devices, self-changing and bio-interfaces, robots, virtual, mixed, and augmented reality applications. In this complex landscape, several promising lines of HCI research, which intertwine the individual, social, and organizational levels of the usage of technologies, are “gameful” interaction, self-tracking and behavior change technologies, and conversational agents.


Innovation Challenges  

Yao Sun and Ann Majchrzak

Starting from early 21st century, companies increasingly use open innovation challenges to generate creative solutions to business problems. This revolution in business models and management strategy reflects the evolution supported by new technology. Employing this new strategic model, companies seek to innovate in a wide variety of areas, such as clothes designs, photography solutions, business plans, and film production. Contrary to closed innovation through which companies develop creative ideas internally, innovation challenges are catalyzed by socioeconomic changes such as the rapid advancement of information technologies, increased labor division, as well as ever-expanding globalization. Going hand in hand are trends such as outsourcing, occurring in parallel in the management area, which makes companies more agile and flexible. Multifaceted and multidimensional, open innovation challenges consist of various activities such as inbound innovation (acquiring and sourcing), outbound innovation (selling and revealing), or a compound mix of these two forms. It also pertains to complementary assets, absorptive capacity, organizational exploration, and exploitation. In an attempt to determine how to best support such an important component of society, scholars and practitioners continue to pursue effective innovation challenge architecture (the art or practice that guides participants’ interactions and exchange) that allows open collaboration among the crowd, as well as an approach for incorporating such architecture into technological platforms in order to improve the crowd’s creativity. This issue is addressed by focusing on existing research that delineates various types of effective architecture of innovation challenges. A theory-based framework guides this examination, and work from various scholarly perspectives of innovation challenges, knowledge management, motivated knowledge sharing, and crowdsourcing are integrated into this framework.


Human and Environmental Interactions in Late Iron Age Kenya  

Freda Nkirote M'Mbogori

The Late Iron Age period in Kenya spans between 1000 BP and 200 BP. However, not much is known regarding this time period owing to the past direction of research in Kenya. Investigations concentrated on earlier archaeological periods due to the country’s richness in early human and technological evolution. As such the bias was not only in the research periods at the time but also, in the fact that, only those areas that were believed to yield such materials were explored. Most research was therefore conducted around the Kenyan Rift Valley until the late 1960s onwards, when the British Institute in Eastern Africa and others started to explore later archaeological and historical periods in the whole of Kenya. These researches, however, failed to recognize the evidence of mosaic in Iron Age sites, which was caused by complexities of diverse processes of replacement, admixture, interactions, and resistance in encounters between expanding and existing populations. Thus the name “Iron Age” for the period in question has been maintained denoting a period when iron was the most important or unique phenomenon, in total disregard of all the other social, political, and economic aspects. Use of oral traditions and genetic materials have, however, contributed greatly in filling the gaps, thus making it possible for archaeologists to understand the mosaic nature of archaeological materials resulting from interactions between populations who may have been culturally and socially distinct but lived during the same archaeological period. The available data show that the sites of this period range from open habitations, caves, and rock shelters to drystone structures, and that the human and environmental interactions were mutually beneficial to both. However, deeper understanding of land use and crop utilization is limited due to inadequate botanical datasets, since archaeobotanical recovery methods were rarely employed as a necessary direction of inquiry. This notwithstanding, as opposed to the environmental determinism theory, the populations of this period were not in sync with the environment, but rather, they were active participants who shaped it to suit their needs. Where resources such as water were not readily available, they improvised by tapping and managing them to suit their preferred occupations. Humans took advantage of natural landforms, climatic zones, and vegetation to shape different aspects of their lifestyles including economic subsistence, habitations, trade, and human-to-human interactions especially during environmental stress. Thus these populations must not be seen as helpless receivers from the environment, but active shapers and innovators of their lifestyles.


Nonverbal Interpersonal Communication  

Miles Patterson

Nonverbal communication is ever present in face-to-face interactions. In interpersonal interactions, individuals are simultaneously sending information with their appearance and nonverbal behavior and receiving comparable information from their partners. Typically, this sending and receiving of nonverbal communication happens automatically and outside of awareness. Consequently, nonverbal communication is a remarkably effective means of managing contact with others, signaling information about social goals, and providing feedback to partners. Although some patterns of nonverbal communication are biologically hardwired, culture, gender, and personality introduce important differences in the subtle give-and-take of nonverbal communication. Finally, because nonverbal communication typically occurs automatically and outside of awareness, people often have little insight into its critical role in interactions.


Testing and Interpreting Interaction Effects  

Jeremy F. Dawson

Researchers often want to test whether the association between two or more variables depends on the value of a different variable. To do this, they usually test interactions, often in the form of moderated multiple regression (MMR) or its extensions. If there is an interaction effect, it means the relationship being tested does differ as the other variable (moderator) changes. While methods for determining whether an interaction exists are well established, less consensus exists about how to understand, or probe, these interactions. Many of the common methods (e.g., simple slope testing, regions of significance, use of Gardner et al.’s typology) have some reliance on post hoc significance testing, which is unhelpful much of the time, and also potentially misleading, sometimes resulting in contradictory findings. A recommended procedure for probing interaction effects involves a systematic description of the nature and size of interaction effects, considering the main effects (estimated after centering variables) as well as the size and direction of the interaction effect itself. Interaction effects can also be more usefully plotted by including both a greater range of moderator values and showing confidence bands. Although two-way linear interactions are the most common in the literature, three-way interactions and nonlinear interactions are also often found. Again, methods for testing these interactions are well known, but procedures for understanding these more complex effects have received less attention—in part because of the greater complexity of what such interpretation involves. For three-way linear interactions, the slope difference test has become a standard form of interpretation and linking the findings with theory; however, this is also prone to some of the shortcomings described for post hoc probing of two-way effects. Descriptions of three-way interactions can be improved by using some of the same principles used for two-way interactions, as well as by the appropriate use of the slope difference test. For nonlinear effects, the complexity is greater still, and a different approach is needed to explain these effects more helpfully, focusing on describing the changing shape of the effects across values of the moderator(s). Some of these principles can also be carried forward into more complex models, such as multilevel modeling, structural equation modeling, and models that involve both mediation and moderation.


Transcription for Conversation Analysis  

Galina B. Bolden and Alexa Hepburn

The transcription system for Conversation Analysis (CA) was originally developed by Gail Jefferson, one of the founders of CA, in the 1960s. Jefferson’s transcription conventions aim to represent on paper what had been captured in field audio recordings in ways that would preserve and bring to light the interactionally relevant elements of the recorded talk. Conversation analytic research has demonstrated that various features of the delivery of talk and other bodily conduct are basic to how interlocutors carry out social actions in interaction with others. Without the CA transcription system it is impossible to identify these features, as it represents talk and other conduct in ways that capture the rich subtlety of their delivery. Jefferson’s system of conventions evolved side by side with, and was informed by the results of, interaction analysis, which has shown there are many significant aspects of talk that interactants treat as relevant but that are entirely missed in simple orthographic representation. Conversation analysts’ insistence on capturing not only what is said but also details of how something is said, including interactants’ visible behaviors, is based on the assumption that “no order of detail in interaction can be dismissed a priori as disorderly, accidental, or irrelevant” (according to John Heritage in 1984). Conversation analytic transcripts need to be detailed enough to facilitate the analyst’s quest to discover and describe orderly practices of social action in interaction.


Moderator Variables  

Matthew S. Fritz and Ann M. Arthur

Moderation occurs when the magnitude and/or direction of the relation between two variables depend on the value of a third variable called a moderator variable. Moderator variables are distinct from mediator variables, which are intermediate variables in a causal chain between two other variables, and confounder variables, which can cause two otherwise unrelated variables to be related. Determining whether a variable is a moderator of the relation between two other variables requires statistically testing an interaction term. When the interaction term contains two categorical variables, analysis of variance (ANOVA) or multiple regression may be used, though ANOVA is usually preferred. When the interaction term contains one or more continuous variables, multiple regression is used. Multiple moderators may be operating simultaneously, in which case higher-order interaction terms can be added to the model, though these higher-order terms may be challenging to probe and interpret. In addition, interaction effects are often small in size, meaning most studies may have inadequate statistical power to detect these effects. When multilevel models are used to account for the nesting of individuals within clusters, moderation can be examined at the individual level, the cluster level, or across levels in what is termed a cross-level interaction. Within the structural equation modeling (SEM) framework, multiple group analyses are often used to test for moderation. Moderation in the context of mediation can be examined using a conditional process model, while moderation of the measurement of a latent variable can be examined by testing for factorial invariance. Challenges faced when testing for moderation include the need to test for treatment by demographic or context interactions, the need to account for excessive multicollinearity, and the need for care when testing models with multiple higher-order interactions terms.


Politeness in Pragmatics  

Dániel Z. Kádár

Politeness comprises linguistic and non-linguistic behavior through which people indicate that they take others’ feelings of how they should be treated into account. Politeness comes into operation through evaluative moments—the interactants’ (or other participants’) assessments of interactional behavior—and it is a key interpersonal interactional phenomenon, due to the fact that it helps people to build up and maintain interpersonal relationships. The operation of politeness involves valences: when people behave in what they perceive as polite in a given situation, they attempt to enactment shared values with others, hence triggering positive emotions. The interactants use valenced categories as a benchmark for their production and evaluation of language and behavior, and valence reflects the participants’ perceived moral order of an interactional context/event, that is, their perceptions of ‘how things should be’ in a given situation. Thus, the examination of politeness reveals information about the broader in-group, social, and cultural values that underlie the productive and evaluative interactional behavior of individuals. As politeness is a social action that consists of both linguistic and non-linguistic elements and that embodies a social practice, the research of politeness also provides insights into the social practices that surround individual language use. Pragmatics-based research on politeness started in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and has become one of the most popular areas in pragmatics. The field has undergone various methodological and theoretical changes. These include the “first wave” of politeness research, in the course of which researchers either attempted to model politeness across languages and cultures by using universal frameworks, or engaged in culture-specific criticism of such frameworks. In the “second wave” of politeness research, researchers attempted to approach politeness as an individualistic, and often idiosyncratic, interactionally co-constructed phenomenon. A key argument of the second wave is that politeness can only be studied at the micro-level of the individual, and so it may be overambitious to attempt to model this phenomenon across languages and cultures. In the “third wave” of politeness research, scholars attempt to model politeness across languages and cultures, without compromising the endeavour of examining politeness as an interactionally co-constructed phenomenon. Key phenomena studied in politeness research include, among others, impoliteness, intercultural interaction, cross-cultural similarities and differences of politeness, the gendered characteristics of politeness behavior, and convention and ritual. Politeness research is a multidisciplinary field that is engaged in the examination of a wide variety of data types.


Social Interaction in VR  

Eugy Han and Jeremy N. Bailenson

Social interaction is one of the most popular use cases of virtual reality (VR). Virtual worlds accessed through VR headsets can immerse people in diverse places and present its users however they wish to be represented. The affordances of this technology allow people to connect with themselves, others, and their surroundings in unique ways. Research has shown that social norms found in the physical world transfer over to virtual worlds. People respond to virtual people in a manner similar to how they would treat people in the physical world. Although virtual worlds and the physical world share similarities, they have many differences. Virtual reality is not—and does not necessarily need to be—a veridical representation of the physical world. Virtual reality has the ability to transform everything, such as what people look like, how they behave, where they are, and how they see things. Cues related to people, such as their visual appearance and nonverbal behavior, or place, such as the surrounding environment and perspective, can be augmented, filtered, or suppressed. These transformations also lead to significant psychological and behavioral effects, affecting how people build trust, engage with others, or communicate nonverbally. Whereas some of these transformations may be unintentional, such as technological by-products, other transformations can be intentional. As a result, it is critical to understand how social interactions occur differently in these transformed environments.


Discursive Approaches to Race and Racism  

Kevin A. Whitehead

In the wake of what has been called the “discursive turn” or “linguistic turn” in the social sciences, research at the intersection of language and communication and race and racism shifted from being largely dominated by quantitative and experimental methods to include qualitative and particularly discursive approaches. While the term “discursive” potentially encompasses a wide range of modes of discourse analysis, discursive approaches share a focus on language use as social action, and as a constitutive feature of actions, events, and situations, rather than as merely a passive means of describing or transmitting information about them. When applied to the study of race and racism, such approaches have examined ways in which language functions to construct, maintain, and legitimate as well as subvert or resist racial and/or racist ideologies and social structures. Research in these areas has made use of a range of empirical materials, including “elite” texts and talk (media texts, parliamentary debates, academic texts, etc.), individual interviews, focus groups and group discussions, “naturally occurring” talk-in-interaction from conversational and institutional settings, and text-based online interactions. Although these different data types should not be seen as strictly mutually exclusive, each of them serves to foreground particular features of racial or racist discourse(s), thus facilitating or constraining particular sorts of discourse analytic findings. Thus, different data sources respectively tend to foreground ideological features of racial discourse(s) and their intersection with power and domination, including examination of “new” racisms and the production and management of accusations and denials of racism; discursive processes involved in the construction and uses of racial subjectivities and identities; interactional processes through which prejudice and racism are constructed and contested; and the everyday interactional reproduction of systems of racial categories, independently of whether the talk in which they occur can or should be considered “racist.”


Migration of Low-Mass Planets  

Frédéric S. Masset

Planet migration is the variation over time of a planet’s semimajor axis, leading to either a contraction or an expansion of the orbit. It results from the exchange of energy and angular momentum between the planet and the disk in which it is embedded during its formation and can cause the semimajor axis to change by as much as two orders of magnitude over the disk’s lifetime. The migration of forming protoplanets is an unavoidable process, and it is thought to be a key ingredient for understanding the variety of extrasolar planetary systems. Although migration occurs for protoplanets of all masses, its properties for low-mass planets (those having up to a few Earth masses) differ significantly from those for high-mass planets. The torque that is exerted by the disk on the planet is composed of different contributions. While migration was first thought to be invariably inward, physical processes that are able to halt or even reverse migration were later uncovered, leading to the realization that the migration path of a forming planet has a very sensitive dependence on the underlying disk parameters. There are other processes that go beyond the case of a single planet experiencing smooth migration under the disk’s tide. This is the case of planetary migration in low-viscosity disks, a fashionable research avenue because protoplanetary disks are thought to have very low viscosity, if any, over most of their planet-forming regions. Such a process is generally significantly chaotic and has to be tackled through high-resolution numerical simulations. The migration of several low-mass planets is also is a very fashionable topic, owing to the discovery by the Kepler mission of many multiple extrasolar planetary systems. The orbital properties of these systems suggest that at least some of them have experienced substantial migration. Although there have been many studies to account for the orbital properties of these systems, there is as yet no clear picture of the different processes that shaped them. Finally, some recently unveiled processes could be important for the migration of low-mass planets. One process is aero-resonant migration, in which a swarm of planetesimals subjected to aerodynamic drag push a planet inward when they reach a mean-motion resonance with the planet, while another process is based on so-called thermal torques, which arise when thermal diffusion in the disk is taken into account, or when the planet, heated by accretion, releases heat into the ambient gas.


The Orbital Architecture of Exoplanetary Systems  

John C. B. Papaloizou

The great diversity of extrasolar planetary systems has challenged our understanding of how planets form. During the formation process their orbits are modified while the protoplanetary disk is present. After its dispersal orbits may also be modified as a result of mutual gravitational interactions leading to their currently observed configurations in the longer term. A number of potentially significant phenomena have been identified. These include radial migration of solids in the protoplanetary disk, radial migration of protoplanetary cores produced by disk-planet interaction and how it can be halted by protoplanet traps, formation of resonant systems and subsystems, and gravitational interactions among planets or between a planet and an external stellar companion. These interactions may cause excitation of orbital inclinations and eccentricities which in the latter case may attain values close to unity. When the eccentricity approaches unity, tidal interaction with the central star could lead to orbital circularization and a close orbiting Hot Jupiter, providing a competitive process to direct migration through the disk or in-situ formation. Long-term dynamical instability may also account for the relatively small number of observed compact systems of super-Earths and Neptune class planets that have attained and subsequently maintained linked commensurabilities in the long term.


Dialogic Pedagogies  

Christine Edwards-Groves

Dialogic pedagogies, contrasted with more monologic approaches to teaching, constitute a broad field of study concerned with classroom talk and interaction and its influence on student learning, knowledge building, and disciplinary competence. Classroom talk and interaction matter, and what constitutes their efficacy in the dialogic classroom has been the subject of intense research across the globe for many decades. In particular, research interest lies in the role and influence of teacher’s and student’s routine interactional work for facilitating student learning, engagement, and participation. Spanning several decades, the detailed and systematic study of the nature of classroom talk in lessons has intensified, with attention being drawn to ways that dialogic approaches to pedagogy can enhance learning through changed teacher–student exchange patterns. In many ways, focusing on classroom talk, and the patterns of interaction that support it, may seem to be a relatively trivial idea, in that teachers at all levels routinely engage in talk in their pedagogical interactions with students. But herein lies the central issue: Talk and interaction is so commonplace that its purposes, its power, and its position in pedagogy is taken for granted, and it is rarely a focus of deliberate professional reflection, critique, and development. Thus, in the main, classroom dialogue is frequently underplayed as fundamental to efficacy in practice, and so its centrality for teaching and learning drifts into the background. It is in this vein that dialogic researchers across the globe have sought to give prominence to classroom talk and interaction beyond its everyday taken for grantedness. Drawing on a range of theoretical, methodological, and analytic paradigms, classroom talk and interaction is foregrounded as it relates to pedagogical dialogism. Proponents of dialogic pedagogies make a strong case for renewing an emphasis on classroom talk and interaction through identifying, describing, representing, and changing lesson talk through more dialogically enriched lesson practices. Taken together, the research argues for sustained emphasis on the dialogic, directing educators to the efficacy of everyday encounters in classroom lessons by focusing on the nature and influence of dialogicality, how it works—and what it affords—in the everyday unfolding of teaching and learning. In ranging educational contexts, it has been shown that a dialogic sensibility emerges when teachers and students explicitly attend to and manage the lesson talkscape, where their pedagogical dialogues are learning focused and a shared responsibility. Proponents of dialogic pedagogies argue for the promotion of “academically productive discourse” by focusing on the impact of opening up the communicative space in classroom discussions in ways that promote student engagement and participation. Yet against a burgeoning body of work from diverse national contexts, research traditions, and analytic approaches heralding its merits, it seems more restrictive discourse structures and more limited discursive opportunities have prevailed in classrooms across the world. In fact, as some researchers have indicated, changing the nature of talk in lessons has proven to be difficult as typical patterns of talk appear to be resistant to change. Ultimately, enduring issues concerning methodology, scalability, focus, and impact on dialogic practice provide grounds for increased larger scale and longitudinal research.


Dialogic Education  

Rupert Wegerif

Dialogic education is a relatively new force in educational theory and practice. Despite the variety of approaches to dialogic education, it nonetheless offers a coherent theory of education with implications not only for how education should be practiced but also for the purposes of education. Dialogic education takes place through dialogue which means opening up dialogic spaces in which different perspectives can clash or play together and new learning can occur. But dialogic education is not only education through dialogue, it is also education for dialogue, meaning that as a result of dialogic education learners become better at learning together with others through dialogue. The intellectual background of dialogic education theory goes back at least as far as Socrates and includes thinkers as varied as Freire, who saw dialogic education as a means of liberation from oppression, and Oakeshott, who understood education to be a process of engaging learners in their cultural inheritance, described as “the conversation of mankind.” Bakhtin, an influential source for recent dialogic educational theory, argues that meaning requires the clash and interaction of multiple voices. There are a range of approaches to implementing dialogic education, varying in the extent to which they focus on teacher to student dialogue, small group dialogues, and whole class dialogues. All approaches include some idea of (1) a dialogic orientation toward the other, characterized by an openness to the possibility of learning, and (2) social norms that support productive dialogue. Published assessments of the impact of dialogic education in relation to general thinking skills, curriculum learning gains, and conceptual understanding have been positive. However, the assessment of dialogic education raises methodological issues, and new methodologies are being developed that align better with dialogic theory and with the idea of measuring increased dialogicity, or expanded “dialogic space.” Assuming that dialogic education works to promote educational goals, various hypotheses have been suggested as to how it works, including some that focus on the co-construction of new meaning through explicit language use, others that focus more on changes in the identity of students, and others on changes in the possibilities of engagement afforded by the culture of classrooms. There are many issues and controversies raised by dialogic education. One issue is the extent to which dialogue as a goal is compatible with a curriculum that pre-specifies certain learning outcomes. Another is the extent to which teaching a set of social norms and practices promoting dialogue might be a kind of cultural imperialism that fails to recognize and value the culture of the students. These and other challenges to dialogic education are part of a lively and constructive debate in the field, which values a multiplicity of voices within the broader context of convergence on the value of teaching through dialogue and teaching for dialogue.


School Climate and Academic Performance  

Siti Noor Ismail, Faizahani Abd. Rahman, and Aizan Yaacob

Definitions of school climate have been interpreted in various ways by scholars since the 1960s. They have been closely associated with achievement, quality control, and school management, among many others that denote characteristics of highly effective organization. It has long been recognized and acknowledged by administrators of the organization, practitioners, psychologists, motivators, and educators that a healthy school climate promotes a positive attitude and openness that will thus create a learning environment that motivates and encourages effective teaching and learning activities; increases teachers’ job satisfaction; and, finally enhances students’ academic performance. The school climate model that determines the characteristics of an effective school climate encompasses four main factors: culture (assumptions, values, norms, beliefs), ecology (structure and facilities), humanity structure and system (instructions, administration, decision making, planning structure), and social system (structure element). Definitions derived from past literature and criticisms as well as arguments against what constitute healthy school climate are presented in this article. A clear set of goals and transparent definitions of the concept are recommended so as to ensure that both school and the other elements in the school body can work synchronously to achieve the same goal, which is providing a positive and healthy school climate.


Early Cognitive Development: Five Lessons from Infant Learning  

Sabine Hunnius

Young children develop at a breathtaking rate. Within just a few years, they change from helpless newborns into schoolchildren with all the abilities and skills needed to start formal education. To understand how such rapid cognitive development is at all possible, we can turn to five fundamental principles of infant learning: First, infants come into this world equipped to learn. From early on, they are sensitive to statistical information in their environment and readily detect and retain statistical structures they observe. Second, infants use this information to build predictive models of the world. Moreover, they are able to continuously and flexibly update these models in light of new information. Third, infant learning is fast and effective because it is supported by early existing attentional biases. Infants allocate attention to and preferably explore stimuli that are optimally informative. Fourth, adult interaction partners create ideal learning opportunities for infants by skillfully adapting their behavior to infants’ attentional preferences and learning capabilities. Fifth, infants’ learning is impacted by the development of their bodies and brains. These developmental changes modify the way infants engage with their environment and provide them with new learning experiences. In sum, the intricate interaction of infants’ basic learning mechanisms, their attentional and exploration biases, and their social exchanges brings about the astonishing developmental changes of early childhood.


Spatial Models in Econometric Research  

Luc Anselin

Since the late 1990s, spatial models have become a growing addition to econometric research. They are characterized by attention paid to the location of observations (i.e., ordered spatial locations) and the interaction among them. Specifically, spatial models formally express spatial interaction by including variables observed at other locations into the regression specification. This can take different forms, mostly based on an averaging of values at neighboring locations through a so-called spatially lagged variable, or spatial lag. The spatial lag can be applied to the dependent variable, to explanatory variables, and/or to the error terms. This yields a range of specifications for cross-sectional dependence, as well as for static and dynamic spatial panels. A critical element in the spatially lagged variable is the definition of neighbor relations in a so-called spatial weights matrix. Historically, the spatial weights matrix has been taken to be given and exogenous, but this has evolved into research focused on estimating the weights from the data and on accounting for potential endogeneity in the weights. Due to the uneven spacing of observations and the complex way in which asymptotic properties are obtained, results from time series analysis are not applicable, and specialized laws of large numbers and central limit theorems need to be developed. This requirement has yielded an active body of research into the asymptotics of spatial models.


Gene–Environment Interplay in the Social Sciences  

Rita Dias Pereira, Pietro Biroli, Titus Galama, Stephanie von Hinke, Hans van Kippersluis, Cornelius A. Rietveld, and Kevin Thom

Nature (one’s genes) and nurture (one’s environment) jointly contribute to the formation and evolution of health and human capital over the life cycle. This complex interplay between genes and environment can be estimated and quantified using genetic information readily available in a growing number of social science data sets. Using genetic data to improve our understanding of individual decision making, inequality, and to guide public policy is possible and promising, but requires a grounding in essential genetic terminology, knowledge of the literature in economics and social-science genetics, and a careful discussion of the policy implications and prospects of the use of genetic data in the social sciences and economics.


Peer Effects in Education  

Andrés Barrios-Fernandez

The identification of peer effects is challenging. There are many factors not related to social influences that could explain correlations among peers. Peers have been shown to affect many important outcomes, including academic performance and educational trajectories. Confirming the existence of peer effects is important from a policy perspective. Both the cost-benefit analysis and the design of policies are likely to be affected by the existence of social spillovers. However, making general policy recommendations from the current evidence is not easy. The size of the peer effects documented in the literature varies substantially across settings and depends on how peers are defined and characterized. Understanding what is behind this heterogeneity is thus key to extract more general policy lessons. Access to better data and the ability to map social networks will likely facilitate investigating which peers and which characteristics matter the most in different contexts. Conducting more research on the mechanisms behind peer effects is also important. Understanding these drivers is key to take advantage of social spillovers in the design of new educational programs, to identify competing policies, and to gain a deeper understanding of the nature and relevance of different forms of social interactions for the youth.


A Reappraisal of the Chalcolithic of Central and Deccan India  

Shweta Sinha Deshpande and Esha Prasad

The Chalcolithic Period of India, first identified at the site of Jorwe in the 1950s, is an important cultural period in the history of India’s civilizational development, especially for the Central, Deccan, Southern, and Eastern regions of the subcontinent. The period ranges from the 3rd millennium bce to the mid-1st millennium bce and covers the origin, development, and decline phases of the Chalcolithic cultures in these regions. While traditionally referred to as two distinct groups, the “Central” Indian and “Deccan” Chalcolithic cultures represent a cultural continuum across the regions of southeast Rajasthan or Mewar, Central India or Malwa, and the Deccan. The archaeological sites are found along the river valleys, and some of the typological sites include Ahar, Balathal, and Gilund in Mewar; Kayatha, Eran, Navdatoli in Malwa; and Savalda, Inamgaon, and Daimabad in the Deccan region. The Central Indian and Deccan Chalcolithic cultures form a cultural community defined by the Black-on-Red Ware (B-on-RW) and the Black-and-Red Ware (B&RW) ceramic types, along with their associated pottery types that have helped frame the chronology and cultural sequence of origin, development, and decline. Also referred to as the early farming communities, they are defined by a sedentary lifestyle with permanent and semi-permanent structures, an agropastoral economy with the production of goods for exchange and commerce, along with variations in religious practices that include fire worship, bull worship, and distinctive burial customs, among others as identified by the excavators. Based on stratigraphic sequence, stylistic similarities, and material culture, five distinct cultural phases have been identified in Central India and the Deccan—namely, the Ahar, Kayatha, and Savalda followed by the Malwa and Jorwe. The origin of these cultures, while not distinctively clear, has been attributed to various native and foreign elements including the Mesolithic and Neolithic cultures of the region, contemporary Pre-Early-Mature-and-Late Harappan cultures, and West Asian influence, among others. The Chalcolithic period in the history of the Indian subcontinent provides a bridge between Prehistory and Early History while raising several relevant questions with regard to its identity in terms of origin and influence, and its placement within the general frame of existing archaeological chronology between the Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Iron Age. Interaction and exchange networks within cultures such as the Southern Neolithic and Harappans—including Early, Mature, and Late periods of Haryana, Gujarat, and north Rajasthan, which contribute to the Chalcolithic period’s rich material assemblage—need to be seen from a fresh perspective. In addition, it is important to reexamine the excavated material from these sites, and possibly undertake fresh excavations in light of new information from sites in southeast Rajasthan, to establish the cultural continuum that these Chalcolithic cultures represent within the chronology of cultural development of the subcontinent.