Seminars: 2018 Winter/Spring


2018 Winter/Spring

KRISZTINA FEHÉR (University of Debrecen)

This talk will provide an overview of sociolinguistics, oriented towards three key factors, i.e. identity, network, and attitude. After a brief comparison between sociolinguistics and other linguistic schools, it will focus on the theory and method of the former, as well as its main findings. The approach of ‘socio-cognitive linguistics’, a special, interdisciplinary field of sociolinguistics and cognitive psychology, will be also described. Finally the presentation will set out a research plan of an experimental investigation into children’s language attitude.


BALÁZS KOVÁCS (Yale School of Management)Boundary Kinking in Public Grading Schemes: The Effects of Tie Strength in Social Relationships

Discontinuities frequently appear in the distribution of scores underlying the grades of public regulation schemes such as restaurant hygiene inspections. The typical study of such discontinuities conceives of them as representing rational behavioral responses to incentives inherent in the scheme itself. By contrast, we study how the evolving social relationship between an inspector and a restaurant influences grading outcomes in a systematic manner. Specifically, we consider variations in the strength of the social tie between an inspector and a restaurateur, conceived as a function of duration and interaction frequency. We study 425,779 inspections in Los Angeles County between 2000 and 2010, conducted by 557 inspectors in 26,724 restaurants.

We find that the stronger the social tie between an inspector and a restaurateur, the more likely the inspector will be to “fudge” upward the hygiene inspection score. When aggregated, this behavior produces discontinuities – or kinks – in the distribution of scores occurring around the grade category boundaries. This behavior appears to be part of an implicit quid pro quo agreement: a lenient inspection in exchange for the restaurateur not requesting a re-examination.

Importantly, the behavior generates public costs: a restaurant whose score is adjusted upwards is subsequently more likely to receive a customer complaint. These findings offer insight into how commensuration operates in the context of regulatory grading schemes and point to a range of implications for sociological theory.


ORSOLYA RING (historian, archivist)Rekrutáció és hivatásgondozás a katolikus egyházban: egyházmegyei támogatott diákok a Pannonhalmi Bencés Gimnáziumban (1957-1975 (Hungarian language lecture)

Előadásomban a Pannonhalmi Bencés Gimnáziumban úgynevezett egyházmegyei támogatással tanuló diákokkal kapcsolatos primer források alapján elsődlegesen azt a hipotézist kívánom igazolni, mely szerint az általam vizsgált időszakban az egyházmegyei támogatás intézménye a korábbi kisszemináriumi hagyomány továbbélését jelentette, és ezen keresztül a hivatásgondozást valamint a katolikus papság rekrutációs bázisának megteremtését szolgálta. Munkám során alapkutatások elvégzésre van szükség, mivel a témára vonatkozóan olyannyira nem állnak rendelkezésre előzménykutatások, hogy a kezdeti fázisban a jelenség létezésének igazolása volt a feladatom. A kutatás során eddig tíz tanév adatait dolgoztam fel, és egy közel kétszáz fős mintán vizsgáltam az egyházmegyei támogatás intézményét. Emellett a témára vonatkozóan egyházmegyei szinten elvégeztem a Pannonhalmi Bencés Gimnázium vonzáskörzetének vizsgálatát is. Jelenleg a támogatott diákok társadalmi hátterére, és ehhez kapcsolódóan szüleik munkajelleg-csoportok szerinti eloszlására vonatkozó adatok feltárása zajlik. Valamint adatokat gyűjtök arra vonatkozóan, hogy mennyire volt eredményesnek tekinthető ez a támogatási rendszer a rekrutációs bázis megteremtése szempontjából. Hosszabb távon célom továbbá annak a katolikus egyházon belüli kapcsolathálónak a megrajzolása, amelynek révén lehetővé vált az egyházmegyei támogatás intézményének működése a diktatúra időszakában.


FRANCESCA GIARDINI (University of Groningen)Language and networks for reputation-based cooperation

From The Times Higher Education World University Rankings, to products' reviews on eBay, or to recommendations on TripAdvisor, we are immersed in a network of evaluations about individuals, places, goods, firms and institutions. The ensuing reputations are meant to help us understand an individual’s qualities or predict their behaviour, on the basis of their underlying nature (Tennie, Frith, Frith, 2010) or their past actions (Dafoe, Renshon, Huth, 2014). Although reputation can have a tenuous connection to reality, it has been advocated as an effective and inexpensive instrument of social control in human societies (Alexander, 1987; Gluckman, 1963).

One of the crucial tenets of many theories of reputation is that the stability of cooperation is conditional on the fact that reputation can track behaviour with the same accuracy of direct experience (Nowak, Sigmund, 2005; Roberts, 2008). Unfortunately, direct experience is seldom available, and reputations emerge not from what we do, but from people talking about what we do (Burt, 2008; Giardini, Conte, 2012). This has two main implications: first, reputation depends on language that can be manipulated according to the goals of the speaker. Second, reputation is a relational phenomenon that results from a triadic interaction between an evaluator, a target and a recipient who are part of a larger social context.

In this talk, I will present my work on reputation, focusing on two important aspects of it: the role of language and its manipulation, and the role of the network structure.  First, I will argue that in the human language-mediated reputational system, reputations are continuously constructed and reconstructed. Reputation is not the result of a single behavior, and opaqueness and uncertainty in transmission should be taken into account for a better understanding of the way in which reputation can be used to support cooperation in groups, communities and organizations. Second, I will discuss lab experiments and agent-based simulation studies indicating that dynamic transmission of incomplete knowledge, like in human gossip, can support cooperation, but only under specific conditions.


REBEKA SZABÓ (CEU CNS)The Impact of Role Structure and the Evolution of Temporal Social Network on Collaborative Project Teams’ Performance

Teamwork is based on collaboration that permits achievement of complex goals that would exceed individual capabilities. Well-functioning teams are adaptive, dynamic task-performing systems that can be considered as basic pillars of successful organizations. Therefore, collaboration in team performance is a topic of interest in numerous organizational studies and areas of social and behavioural sciences. Nevertheless, the greatest number of these scientific inquiries follow a research design relying on the investigation of static information gained by the examination of input-output factors of cooperating teams, by which actual interactional process of collaborative task-solving is overlooked. I intend to bring a novel system approach to this discourse by implementing a reinterpreted InputProcess-Output model, where I analyze the interplay between the static network of teams’ initial role structure, as the input, and temporal changes of emerging collaboration networks during taskaccomplishment, as the process determinant, in relation to the favourable outcome of the project accounting for the output variable. I hypotheze that less hierarchical teams with a more pliable role structure are more likely to do better in problem solving as flexibility allows constant adjustment of collaborative exploration practices and communication, thereby inducing homogeneous dispersion of communicational ties across team members and across the time of problem-solving which temporal network characteristic is also assumed to foster successful problem-solving. The two predominant questions of my research are (1) how the network of social role structure influences the evolving collaboration network across time and team members; (2) how this emerging interactional pattern contributes to the success of teams’ problem-solving on a temporal scale. To examine these relations I make video records to collect fine-grained data in escape rooms. Escape rooms provide a half-laboratory, half-experimental setting that can credibly mimic labor characteristics and the organizational environment of project teams, as the players are operating under time pressure and they perform a collaboration-demanding, non-structured task using two predominant activities: exploration and idea-sharing. This research field provides me with the possibility of overcoming time-, resource-, and effort-consuming disadvantages of process analysis. Moreover, video recordings (that originally serve the purpose of preventing inadequate acts) allow me to observe realtime interactions excluding biases of self-reports. As a further stage of the project, I also aim to analyze the content (negative/positive reaction) of the communication ties to better understand consensus formation and team spirit.