Computing has come a long way since our studies of how people used computer networks. My book with Lee Sproull, Connections, anticipated some of the long term effects for individuals and organizations of using the applications then available. Advances in computing and new online services since have made possible new kinds of organization, collaboration, and learning. My research continues to apply behavioral and social science research methods and theory to understand how groups, teams, and organizations collaborate, and the human factors dimensions of people's use of, and interactions with, technology.
Organization Science of Science:
With Jonathon Cummings, I have studied scientific work in research groups and watched the shift to larger teams engaged in multidisciplinary and geographically-distributed research. Over a nine year period, we followed 549 research groups funded by the National Science Foundation. Our goal was to understand how the structure and interactions in these research groups led to differences in their productivity and creativity, and in their integration as teams.
User Perspectives on a New Internet Architecture:
I worked with Laura Dabbish and our students on the exciting XIA project at Carnegie Mellon, whose purpose is to develop a new Internet architecture. Our goal is to provide early signals of how a new Internet architecture might affect ordinary people, for good or bad, and to help the networking team make decisions that could affect usability, privacy, and security.
Why People Seek Anonymity
We have pointed to the much increased transparency and permeability of the Internet and to the myriad of reasons why everyone needs privacy protections and, sometimes, the ability to be anonymous. We are studying what people try to do to hide their digital footprints, and with the support of NSF, we are studying why people want anonymity and how they try to attain it.
Collaborative Analysis – project ending
With Susan Fussell, Aimee Kane, and our students, we studied the process of investigation as carried out by intelligence analysis and detectives. Their task is to look for clues in data and see patterns that lead to a solution. We have found a major problem associated with tools for collaborative analysis—that people tend to believe bad advice online, even with various cues that tell them the advice should be ignored.
The Project on People and Robots – a project now off in other directions
This project has evolved and now is about human-robot interaction within a service delivery framework. View my Publications page for key related papers.
Journal of Human-Robot Interaction
I am the past editor of the journal Human-Robot Interaction. I have worked with Jessica Hodgins and Jenn Hyde on some social psychological aspects of motion in animated characters and avatars, and with Kevin Huang, Dan Siewiorek, and Asim Smallagic on using the iPhone to help monitor and correct at-home rehabilitation exercises.
Google Scholar citation page
View my Google Scholar profile, which provides a list and links to scholarly papers and books.