Information technology advances are leading to ever-growing accumulations of “big data,” making it feasible to quantify more things long thought immeasurable, Phys.org reports.
Arizona State University professor Ying-Cheng Lai and his research partners are combining expertise in computer science, engineering, mathematics, statistics and physics in analyzing big data to explore human-interest dynamics. They want to see if it’s possible to identify patterns in what motivates people to become interested in particular things, what makes them maintain certain interests and what causes them to lose interest.
“Big data now provides a platform for exploring the dynamics of why people change their minds about certain things,” Lai says. “Are there intrinsic rules that govern when something interests people, and what influences us to become interested?”