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This is a seminar course. By reading and discussing research papers about computational social science (CSS), students will become familiar with core issues and techniques in the field.

Given the recent rise of large language models (LLMs) to the center of technological developments, this year’s TopiCSS edition will be fully dedicated to the theme of “Computational Social Science with and of Large Language Models”.


Over the past years, large language models (LLMs) have revolutionized AI, and with the release of ChatGPT in late 2022, they have started to penetrate most aspects of human life. They hold enormous promise to change our lives for the better, while posing risks of the largest conceivable extent. In 2024, our understanding of how LLMs function, how they affect human behavior, and how they can be most effectively harnessed, is minimal, and widening our understanding requires new research methodologies.

This seminar will look at LLMs from a social-science angle. We will read papers that ask:

  • Can LLMs be used to advance CSS methods for studying human behavior? (“CSS with LLMs”)
  • Can CSS methods be used to study LLM behavior? (“CSS of LLMs”)

The papers we will read will touch on sociology, psychology, culture, and economics, including ethical and societal implications.

Previous years: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017.


  • Coursebook listing
  • Time: Tuesays, 10:15 – 11:45, 20 Feb – 28 May 2024
  • Format: This is an in-person seminar, to be held in BC03.
  • Reviews are to be submitted via EasyChair by Sunday 23:59
  • Everybody is welcome to join us as a guest in reading and discussing the papers listed below (for as many or as few papers as they like)!


  • It’s key that everyone must read the respective week’s material ahead of time, so we can have a deep, meaningful discussion.
  • Discussion leaders guide a discussion about the respective week’s material (and any additional material they deem worthy of talking about).
  • To make things easier, here are all papers in a single zip file.

Week 1 (20 Feb)

No meeting

Week 2 (27 Feb): Introduction and logistics

Introduction and logistics [slides]

Week 3 (5 Mar): Overview

Discussion leader: Ivan Zakazov

Week 4 (12 Mar): Psychology

Discussion leader: Dina El Zein

Week 5 (19 Mar): Psychology

Discussion leader: Marguerite Thery

Week 6 (26 Mar)

No meeting

Week 7 (2 Apr)

No meeting

Week 8 (9 Apr)

No meeting

Week 9 (16 Apr): Psychology

Discussion leader: Amirsiavosh Bashardoust

Week 10 (23 Apr): Culture

Discussion leader: Max Conti

Week 11 (30 Apr): Culture

Discussion leader: Christodoulos Kechris

Week 12 (7 May)

No meeting

Week 13 (14 May): Life trajectories

Discussion leader: Stefano Viel

Week 14 (21 May): Economics

Discussion leader: Arina Rak

Week 15 (28 May): Implications

Discussion leader: Hugo Porta