Noshir Contractor presented at the University of Buffalo’s Virtual Brown Bag Series

Noshir Contractor recently presented at the Virtual Brown Bag Series at the University of Buffalo. His presentation, titled “Using Digital Traces to Leverage Network Insights During COVID-19 Today – and in Space in the Future” featured some of our latest works on digital traces and how we can gain network insights from these data.



Contractor, N. (2020, November). Using Digital Traces to Leverage Network Insights During COVID-19 Today – and in Space in the Future. Speaker at the Virtual Brown Bag Series Department of Organization and Human Resources, School of Management, University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.

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Virtual NCA 2020 Convention Highlights

Last weekend, current and former SONIC members had the pleasure to present at the Virtual National Communication Association (NCA) Convention 2020. Here’s some highlights from the convention:



If you missed the live session last weekend, watch the recorded conference presentation here:

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Noshir Presenting at NCA 2020 Tomorrow!

Tomorrow (11/20), Noshir Contractor will be presenting at the National Communication Association (NCA) Convention. He will discuss topics surrounding AI and teams as part of a panel titled Team Communication Research in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

Other speakers in the panel include:

  • Brooke Foucault Welles from Northeastern University
  • Javier Garcia from US CCDC Army Research Laboratory
  • Nina Lauharatanahirun from University of Pennsylvania and US CCDC Army Research Laboratory
  • Andrew Gambino from Penn State University
  • Christoph Riedl from Northeastern University
  • Leslide DeChurch from Northwestern University

More details on the panel can be found below:

Title: Team Communication Research in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Fri, 11/20: 3:30 PM 4:45 PM EST
Room: Zoom Room 17
Artificial intelligence (AI) technology has accelerated at a rapid pace in recent years, presenting novel opportunities and challenges to the study of team communication. In this panel, we bring together experts who use AI in many different aspects of their team communication research, including: AI-supported data collection and analysis, behavioral modeling and prediction in teams, agent-based modeling of teams, and hybrid human-agent teams. This panel will feature short individual presentations about leading edge AI-team research, followed by discussion of critical issues in this domain including data security, ethics, privacy, and student training. Together, we aim to outline an agenda for future work where AI is thoughtfully integrated into team communication research.
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Diego Presenting at the National Communication Association (NCA) Convention 2020

Our gradaute student Diego Gomez-Zara is going to present his research on team formation at the upcoming National Communication Association (NCA) Convention. The 106th Annual NCA Convention will be fully virtual and will cover topics surroounding Communication at the Crossroads. Diego’s presentation will be live from 7-9AM CST and is part of the Information Seeking, Impressions, and Technology.

More information about the presentation can be found here:

Title: Do I Know You? The Effects of Offline Social Capital on Self-Assembled Teams Online

Abstract: This study investigates how individuals’ offline social capital affects the formation of teams in online contexts. We conducted a study with 854 participants who assembled teams using an online platform developed for this study and examined how they sent invitations to assemble teams to others, as well as their responses to others’ invitations. Through a family of statistical models for analyzing social network data, ERGMs, the result suggests that participants’ prior offline relationships have strong effects on the likelihood of being invited and accepted in a team. We found that the strength of offline relationships, the number of weak and strong ties, and leadership experience influenced the processes of team formation online. This study provides empirical support for social capital theories that explain how teams emerge online.

Citation: Gómez-Zará, D., DeChurch, L. A., & Contractor, N. S. Do I Know You? The Effects of Offline Social Capital on Self-Assembled Teams Online. Accepted at the NCA 106th Annual Convention.

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Niloufar presenting at INFORMS 2020

Our graduate student, Niloufar Izadinia, presented at the 2020 Virtual INFORMS Annual Meeting today (11/13). Her presentation titled Optimization-based Metrics Of Multilevel Performance In Multiteam Systems will be available for the next three months.


More Event Details:

Below please find the abstract and link to the presentation.


Abstract: Members in Multiteam system (MTS) have to negotiate making decisions that optimize their individual performance vis a vis the performance of their team and the MTS. Further, the performance of an individual or a team is constrained by decisions made by others with whom they are independent. Organizational research has generally not accounted for these interdependencies when measuring performance, In this study, we develop optimization-based metrics for assessing the performance of individuals, teams, and MTS that take into account these constraints. We demonstrate that our metrics are valid, reliable, and superior to existing metrics as predictors and outcomes of team states and processes.


Link to Presentation:


Note: If you’re not a registered for the annual meeting, you’ll still be able to access the event and watch Niloufar’s presentation by creating an account.

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ASONAM acceptance!

Sharing another great news – We have a paper accepted to The 2020 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining (ASONAM)! Congrats to authors Aditya Tyagi, Diego Gomez-Zara, and Dr. Noshir Contractor.


The conference is virtual and will be live 7-10 December. More information about the conference can be found here:


Please find the title, abstract and citation of the paper below:

Title: How do Friendship and Advice Ties Emerge? A Case Study of Graduate Student Social Networks

Abstract: In this paper, we analyze the factors that are most likely to explain the formation of friendship and advice ties among 44 students from a professional STEM graduate program.
To answer our research questions, we investigate how students’ characteristics influence the formation of their friendship and advice networks using descriptive network analysis, community
detection, and Exponential Random Graph Models. The results show that the formation of friendship and advice ties is mostly driven by demographic homophily and prior group activities. Our findings also suggest that female students were more constrained in their friendship and advice networks than male students. We discuss the implications of these results for how graduate
students’ social networks form at the beginning of their program.

Index Terms—Homophily, personality, community detection, exponential random graph models, network analysis, minorities.


Gómez-Zará, D., DeChurch, L. A., & Contractor, N. S. Do I Know You? The Effects of Offline Social Capital on Self-Assembled Teams Online. Accepted at the NCA 106th Annual Convention.

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We have a new patent!

We are pleased to announce the grant of US Patent No. 10,795,896.

Our utility patent on Systems and Methods for Automatically Identifying Specific Teams of Users To Solve Specific and Real-time Problems describes a social network platform used to facilitate project team assembly.

The grant of this patent recognizes the quality of the innovation and research carried out by SONIC.

Congratulations to our inventors: Anup Sawant, Harshad Gado, and Noshir Contractor.

Check out our USPTO report for more information regarding the patent and/or software.

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Watch Noshir Contractor’s SIOP 2020 and MORS Brownbag Talk

A few months ago, Noshir Contractor presented at the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP 2020) as well as at the Management and Organizations (MORS) Brownbag Series. His talk is on (Re-)pairing Teams for the Moon, and it is based on our NASA CREWS project. Check out a recording of the talk here:



  • Contractor, N. (2020, May). (Re-)pairing Teams for the Moon. Speaker at MORS Brownbag Series, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL.
  • Antonne, B., DeChurch, L. A., Bell, S., & Contractor, N. S. (2020, April 21-25). Re-Pairing Teams for Long-Duration Space Exploration. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) 2020, Virtual Conference.


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Two new book chapters in Psychology and Human Performance in Space Programs

Sharing some wonderful news — We have two new book chapters published! Congratulations to our SONIC authors: graduate student Brennan Antone, Research Assistant Professor Alina Lungeanu, and Lab Director Noshir Contractor.

Other authors include Suzanne Bell from KBR, Jessica Mesmer-Magnus from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Alexa Harris, Ashley Niler and Leslie DeChurch from Northwestern University (ATLAS Lab).


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Contractor delivered a keynote speech at the 2020 ICA-affiliated New Media International (Virtual) Conference

Our lab director, Dr. Noshir Contractor, delivered a keynote speech at the 2020 ICA-affiliated New Media International (Virtual) Conference in Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU). The virtual conference featured past and present presidents of ICA — including Claes de Vreese, Terry Flew, Peng Hwa Ang, and Patrice Buzzanell — and attracted 506 participants, including faculties and students at SJTU. The conference centers around Intelligent Communication and Social Concerns and Dr. Noshir Contractor presented his research on “Teaming in the Time of Covid-19.” This conference is the first official event Dr. Contractor took part in as part of the ICA leadership team. 


For more information about the conference, check out the event details here and a news article covering the conference here.



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