Damon Centola, Ph.D.

Portrait of Damon Centola
Professor of Communication, Sociology and Engineering
Director, Network Dynamics Group

Damon Centola is a Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is Director of the Network Dynamics Group. Before coming to Penn, he was an Assistant Professor at M.I.T. and a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow at Harvard University. 

His research includes social networks, social epidemiology, and web-based experiments on diffusion and cultural evolution. His work has been published across several disciplines in journals such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, American Journal of Sociology, and Journal of Statistical Physics. Centola received the American Sociological Association’s Award for Outstanding Article in Mathematical Sociology in 2006, 2009, and 2011, and was awarded the ASA's 2011 Goodman Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Sociological Methodology and the 2017 James Coleman Award for Outstanding Research in Rationality and Society. He was a developer of the NetLogo agent based modeling environment, and was awarded a U.S. Patent for inventing a method to promote diffusion in online networks. He is a member of the Sci Foo community and Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is the author of How Behavior Spreads.

Popular accounts of Centola’s work have appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Wall Street Journal, Wired, TIME, and CNN. His research has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation. He is a series editor for Princeton University Press. 


Uploaded on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 11:20am
Social media networks, which often foster partisan antagonism, may also offer a solution to reducing political polarization, according to new...
Uploaded on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 9:55am
In a new book published by Princeton University Press, Professor Damon Centola explains that contrary to the idea that everything "goes viral," the...
Uploaded on Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 11:24am
A study in Science by Professor Damon Centola finds that when 25% of people in a group adopt a new social norm, it creates a tipping point where the...
Uploaded on Monday, June 12, 2017 - 3:37pm
When people talk to each other, together they can make smarter decisions than they can on their own. Professor Damon Centola, along with Ph.D....
Uploaded on Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 8:37am
Research by the Network Dynamics Group at the Annenberg School for Communication compared different ways that exercise programs motivate people to...


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Damon Centola's research uses web-based social science and computational models to study the impact of social networks on health behaviors, social cooperation, collective problem solving, and the emergence of political consensus versus polarization. 

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Centola's Network

  • Digital Media and Social Networks
  • Health Communication
  • Media and Communication Effects
  • Media Institutions and Systems
  • Center for Media at Risk
  • Network Dynamics
  • Network Dynamics Group Website