Past Meetup

Pantelis P. Analytis on Social Learning Strategies for Matters of Taste

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We are very excited to announce that the eighth Athenian Papers We Love meetup will feature Pantelis P. Analytis presenting on Social Learning Strategies for Matters of Taste (, by Analytis, Barkoczi, and Herzog. [2018].


• Pantelis P. Analytis on Social Learning Strategies for Matters of Taste

Most choices people make are about ‘matters of taste’, on which there is no universal, objective truth. Nevertheless, people can learn from the experiences of individuals with similar tastes who have already evaluated the available options—a potential harnessed by recommender systems. We mapped recommender system algorithms to models of human judgement and decision-making about ‘matters of fact’ and recast the latter as social learning strategies for matters of taste. Using computer simulations on a large-scale, empirical dataset, we studied how people could leverage the experiences of others to make better decisions. Our simulations showed that experienced individuals can benefit from relying mostly on the opinions of seemingly similar people; by contrast, inexperienced individuals cannot reliably estimate similarity and are better off picking the mainstream option despite differences in taste. Crucially, the level of experience beyond which people should switch to similarity-heavy strategies varies substantially across individuals and depends on how mainstream (or alternative) an individual’s tastes are and the level of dispersion in taste similarity with the other people in the group.


Pantelis is an assistant professor at the Danish Institute of Advanced Studies (D-IAS). Pantelis develops mathematical and computational models of individual and collective behavior and uses experiments, big-data and large-scale simulations to assess their descriptive and prescriptive value. He received a PhD in Psychology from Humboldt University, a Diploma in Economics from University of Athens and a Master's in Cognitive Science from EHESS in Paris. Before joining D-IAS he worked as a predoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and as a postdoctoral researcher at the Computer and Information Science departments at Cornell University in Ithaca.

Twitter: @pantelispa
Personal website:


Enter the building from the entrance next to the parking lot and climb to the second floor.

After the presentation we will open the floor to discussion and questions.