Seth Frey

Seth Frey

Position Title
Assistant Professor

  • Communication
Kerr Hall 376


I am an Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of California, Davis, in the Computational Communication lab.  Before a fellowship Dartmouth College’s interdisciplinary Neukom Institute for Computational Science, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Disney Research, a part of Walt Disney Imagineering, where I applied my expertise to both theoretical and practical questions about engineered social systems, such as games, sports, online communities, and theme parks. In 2013, I earned a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science and Informatics at Indiana University, after two years at the New England Complex Systems Institute. I earned my B.A. in Cognitive Science from UC Berkeley in 2004. 

Research Focus

As a socially and computationally inflected cognitive scientist, I study human decision behavior in complex social environments. In practice, I work back and forth between data science, behavioral experiments, and modeling to answer quantitative questions about human organizations, institutions, and communication. Some relevant research keywords include computational social science, strategic behavior, higher-level reasoning, science of cooperatives, Ostrom Workshop, quantitative models of institutional evolution, online games, online communities, self-governance, cooperatives.

Students or aspiring graduate students: My topics are diverse, but they generally have to do with governance technology or the reasoning/cognitive mechanisms of social-scale outcomes. If you are interested in a data science training, particularly its applications at the intersection of communication, cognition, games, complex systems, or any combination of the above keywords, I'd be happy to talk. If you like being busy and pushing yourself, if you read a lot and enjoy thinking about society and going down personal research rabbit holes, I'll be eager to talk.