Steven Qu

Steven  Qu
MIT EECS | CS+HASS Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Advisor: Adam Berinsky
Department: EECS
Areas of Research: CS+HASS
Years: 2021-2022
Research Project Title:

Modeling Social Media Incentive Dynamics

abstract:Modern social media has revolutionized how people communicate, but it has also become a problematic distraction and source of misinformation. We aim to build a framework which considers both user incentives and company policies so as to systematically develop principles that promote positive societal outcomes. This will be done by constructing models of the human user based in behavioral economics and political science, generating the user's actions according to social media incentive designs, and using statistical inference to simulate realistic interactions. The framework may be leveraged to develop practical interventions, either on the user side or on the platform side. We can evaluate these interventions either with more simulations or with empirical studies.

I am participating in SuperUROP because I want to explore a project deeply with motivation and support from faculty. Cognitive models of humans have always fascinated me with their applicability in real-world domains, and this is my chance to add to the field. I hope to deepen my understanding of the social sciences as well as experience the extent to which useful computational models can be applied to solve important problems.