Research Area: Social Behavior in Design Computational Social Science


Social behavior plays an increasing role in the generation and consumption of designed artifacts. Social behavior includes both direct social interaction that occurs between people and indirect social interaction through social media and other sources. There is no relevent predictive theory to support social behavior, as a consequence it is treated as a pehnomenological response to environmental conditions that include both the cognitive responses of invidivuals and groups and the changes in the environment external to individuals.

Computational models aimed as producing emergent phenomenological behavior are based on concepts from computational social science that are embodied in computational agents. This research area develops situated, social, cognitive agents that are built on situated cognition. These agents draw ideas from James, Dewey and Bartlett.

Using this form of agent-based modeling we can model the social behavior of individuals, teams and organizations.

Funding comes from NASA and NSF.

Projects include:

  • blind spots in multi-team organizations
  • interactions of consumers and producers
  • situated, constructive memory agents
  • social models of creativity
  • team innovation




Some foundational papers are:
  • Gero, J. S. and Fujii, H. (2000) A computational framework for concept formation in a situated design agent, Knowledge-Based Systems 13(6): 361-368. (pdf)
  • Singh, V, Dong, A and Gero, JS (2012) Computational studies to understand the role of social learning in team familiarity and their effects on team performance, CoDesign 8(1)DOI:10.1080/15710882.2011.63308 (link)
  • Singh, V, Dong, A and Gero, JS (2013) Developing a computational model to study the social formation of design practices, A Chakrabarti and RV Prakash (eds), ICoRD’13, Springer India, pp. 629-639. (pdf)
  • Smith, G and Gero, JS (2005) What does an agent mean by being "situated"? Design Studies 26: 535-561. (pdf)
  • Thomas, R and Gero, JS (2014) Social interactions in post-design phases in product development and consumption: Computational social science modeling, in T Taura, M Ito and Y Nagai (eds), Pre-Design, Design, and Post-Design: Principia Designae for the Highly Advanced Technological Society, Springer (to appear). (pdf)
  • Thomas, R and Gero, JS (2015) Moving targets: How consumers change value systems through interaction with designed products and other consumers, in C Weber, S Husung, G Cascini, M Cantamessa, D Marjanovic and M Bordegoni (eds), DS 80-11 Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 15) Vol 11:Human Behaviour in Design, Design Education, Design Society, pp. 41-50. (pdf)
  • Thomas, R and Gero, JS Conceptual blind spots in complex engineering systems projects: A computational model, DESIGN2014 (to appear) (pdf)

Papers that develop the research in more detail include:

  • Kannengiesser, U and Gero, JS (2002) Situated agent communication for design, in JS Gero and F Brazier (eds), Agents in Design 2002, Key Centre of Design Computing and Cognition, University of Sydney, Australia, pp. 85-94. (pdf)
  • Liew, P and Gero JS (2004) Constructive memory for situated agents, AIEDAM 18(2): 163-198. (pdf)
  • Saunders, R and Gero, JS (2004) Situated design simulations using curious agents, AIEDAM 18(2): 153-161. (pdf)
  • Sosa, R and Gero, JS (2012) Brainstorming in solitude and teams: A computational study of the role of group influence, in ML Maher, K Hammond, A Pease, R Pérez y Pérez, D Ventura and G Wiggins (eds), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Computational Creativity,pp.188-194.
  • Smith, G and Gero, JS (2004) Describing situated design agents, in JS Gero (ed), Design Computing and Cogition’04, Kluwer, pp. 439-457. (pdf)
  • Thomas, R and Gero, JS (2017) Engineering the process of institutional innovation in contested territory, in C Diaz and C Nieto (eds), Social Systems Engineering: The Design of Complexity, Wiley (to appear) (pdf)

For the rest you can scour my publications starting with those In Progress.


The people who have or are working with me on this include:

  • Udo Kannegiesser
  • Nick Kelly
  • Pak-San Liew
  • Wei Peng
  • Somwrita Sarkar
  • Rob Saunders
  • Vishal Singh
  • Greg Smith
  • Ricardo Sosa
  • Russ Thomas
  • Noah Walsh