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Michael Macy

Goldwin Smith Professor of Arts and Sciences, Department of Information Science and Sociology, Director of the Social Dynamics Laboratory
PhD 1985, Harvard University

Areas of Interest: Human Behavior, Social Interaction, Computational Social Science

(607) 255-4555/ 4269
Personal Site

372 Uris Hall, 225 Gates Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-7601


Michael Macy left the farm in Tennessee where he grew up to attend Harvard, where he received his B.A. and later Ph.D, along with an M.A. from Stanford. He is currently Goldwin Smith Professor of Arts and Sciences in Sociology and Director of the Social Dynamics Laboratory at Cornell, where he has worked since 1997. With support from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and Google, his research team has used computational models, online laboratory experiments, and digital traces of device-mediated interaction to explore familiar but enigmatic social patterns, such as circadian rhythms, the emergence and collapse of fads, the spread of self-destructive behaviors, cooperation in social dilemmas, the critical mass in collective action, the spread of high-threshold contagions on small-world networks, the polarization of opinion, segregation of neighborhoods, and assimilation of minority cultures. Recent research uses 509 million Twitter messages to track diurnal and seasonal mood changes in 54 countries, and telephone logs for 12B calls in the UK to measure the economic correlates of network structure. His research has been published in leading journals, including Science, PNAS, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, and Annual Review of Sociology.

Recent Courses


Social Dynamics and Computational Methods

Selected Publications