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Michael  Prietula - Emory University, Goizueta Business School. Atlanta, GA, US

Michael Prietula Michael  Prietula

Professor of Information Systems & Operations Management | Emory University, Goizueta Business School





Michael  Prietula Publication Michael  Prietula Publication



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Michael J. Prietula (PhD, MPH) is Professor in the Goizueta Business School and in the Rollins School of Public Health. Dr. Prietula holds a PhD in Information Systems (minors in Computer Science and Psychology) from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Florida. He has worked as a research scientist at Honeywell's Aerospace Systems & Research Center, on the faculties of Dartmouth College, Carnegie Mellon University, and department chair at the Johns Hopkins University with an adjunct appointment in the JHU School of Medicine. He is also an External Research Scholar at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, that develops pioneering technologies aimed at leveraging and extending human capabilities via Artificial Intelligence & Robotics.

He has published such journals as the Management Science, Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly, Cognitive Science, Harvard Business Review, Organization Science, Biosecurity & Bioterrorism, Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, ORSA Journal on Computing, Applied Artificial Intelligence, JMIR mHealth & uHealth, Human Factors, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, Computers in Human Behavior, PLoS One, Brain Connectivity, and the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. He has best paper awards from the Hawaii International Conference of Systems Sciences, the International Conference on Global Defense & Business Continuity, the International Conference of Information Systems, and the Academy of Management. His papers were in the top 5 downloaded from Organization Science (2014), the most downloaded paper from Brain Connectivity (2017), and in top 10 downloaded from JMIR mHealth & uHealth (2016-2019). He has edited two books, Computational Organization Theory (with K. Carley) and Simulating Organizations: Computational Models of Institutions and Groups (with K. Carley & L. Gasser). He has been funded by Emory's Global Health Institute, the Centers for Disease Control & Surveillance, the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the Office of Naval Research, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Michael is a musician, a PADI diving instructor, and was also a stage manager and served on the board of directors for a community theatre in New Hampshire while teaching at Dartmouth.

Areas of Expertise (8)

AI Ethics

Public Health & Emergency Response

Decision Making & Expertise

Theatre, Performance & Leadership

Public Health & Technology

Semantic Web Ontologies

Agent-based Organizational Modeling

UX Design Methods

Education (2)

University of Minnesota: PhD, Information Systems

University of Florida: MPH, Public Health

In the News (6)

Acting workshop for business leaders to be offered at Goizueta

EmoryBusiness.com  online


The module is designed and offered by the developers of the original CMU seven-week course: Professor Geoffrey Hitch of CMU and Goizueta Business School’s Michael Prietula.

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Hurricane Matthew interesting case for preparedness, leadership

EmoryBusiness.com  online


Michael Prietula, a Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management at Goizueta Business School, is working in collaboration with Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, the University of Notre Dame and the Miami-Dade Office of Emergency Management. The study has produced a “virtual operations center” modeling tool to investigate how public and private agencies exchange information and make decisions during times of crisis.

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Professor receives funding to study disaster response

EmoryBusiness.com  online


Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, a Goizueta Business School professor is conducting research to understand how communities plan for, and respond to, emergency events. Michael Prietula, a Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management at Goizueta, is working in collaboration with Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, two professors from the University of Notre Dame and the Miami-Dade Office of Emergency Management.

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A novel look at how stories may change the brain

Emory News Center  


His co-authors included Kristina Blaine and Brandon Pye from the Center for Neuropolicy, and Michael Prietula, professor of information systems and operations management at Emory’s Goizueta Business School...

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The business, economics and psychology of organized violence and terrorism

Emory News Center  


Goizueta Professor of Information Systems and Operations Management Michael Prietula, who studies human decision making and computational modeling of social systems; Distinguished Professor of Neuroeconomics Gregory Berns, whose research focuses on using brain imaging to understand motivation...

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Biz students learn about terror fallout

CNN  online


Future executives learn how terrorism causes economic harm at an Atlanta university. CNN's Nick Valencia reports.

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Publications (9)

Studies of Expertise from Psychological Perspectives: Historical Foundations and Recurrent Themes

Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, 2nd Edition


This chapter emphasizes a period of research roughly from the mid-1950s into the 1980s when empirical laboratory studies of expert reasoning were first combined with theoretical models of human thought processes that could reproduce the observable performance. It characterizes some of the enduring insights about mechanisms and aspects of expertise that generalize across domains, reflecting on the original theoretical accounts. There were three main roots that play an important role in the field of expertise: artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive psychology, and education. During the early years, the first AI program, called the logic theorist, was written. Cognitive Psychology and Computer Science merged into a very close collaboration that was named Cognitive Science. Expert cognition was conceived as the "goal state" for education, the criterion for what the successful educational process should produce, as well as a measure by which to assess its progress, serving to inform pedagogical design and teacher evaluation. When knowledge is viewed as the primary source of difference associated with expertise, as was the primary focus in the expert-novice approach, it makes sense to study the structure of individuals' knowledge.

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Taking mHealth Forward: Examining the Core Characteristics

JMIR MHealth and UHealth


The emergence of mobile health (mHealth) offers unique and varied opportunities to address some of the most difficult problems of health. Some of the most promising and active efforts of mHealth involve the engagement of mobile phone technology. As this technology has spread and as this technology is still evolving, we begin a conversation about the core characteristics of mHealth relevant to any mobile phone platform...

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SimEOC: A Distributed Web-Based Virtual Emergency Operations Center Simulator for Training and Research

International Journal of Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management


Training is an integral part of disaster preparedness. Practice in dealing with crises improves one's ability to manage emergency situations. As an emergency escalates, more and more agencies get involved. These agencies require training to learn how to manage the crisis and to work together across jurisdictional boundaries. Consequently, training requires participation from many individuals, consumes a great deal of resources in vendor cost for support and staff time, and cannot be conducted often...

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The Conforming Brain and Deontological Resolve



Our personal values are subject to forces of social influence. Deontological resolve captures how strongly one relies on absolute rules of right and wrong in the representation of one’s personal values and may predict willingness to modify one’s values in the presence of social influence. Using fMRI, we found that a neurobiological metric for deontological resolve based on relative activity in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) during the passive processing of sacred values predicted individual differences in conformity. Individuals with stronger deontological resolve, as measured by greater VLPFC activity, displayed lower levels of conformity. We also tested whether responsiveness to social reward, as measured by ventral striatal activity during social feedback, predicted variability in conformist behavior across individuals but found no significant relationship. From these results we conclude that unwillingness to conform to others’ values is associated with a strong neurobiological representation of social rules.

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Short-and long-term effects of a novel on connectivity in the brain

Brain Connectivity


We sought to determine whether reading a novel causes measurable changes in resting-state connectivity of the brain and how long these changes persist. Incorporating a within-subjects design, participants received resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scans on 19 consecutive days. First, baseline resting state data for a “washin” period were taken for each participant for 5 days. For the next 9 days, participants read 1/9th of a novel during the evening and resting-state data were taken the next morning...

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Open collaboration for innovation: principles and performance

Organization Science


The principles of open collaboration for innovation (and production), once distinctive to open source software, are now found in many other ventures. Some of these ventures are Internet based: for example, Wikipedia and online communities. Others are off-line: they are found in medicine, science, and everyday life. Such ventures have been affecting traditional firms and may represent a new organizational form...

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The price of your soul: neural evidence for the non-utilitarian representation of sacred values

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B


Sacred values, such as those associated with religious or ethnic identity, underlie many important individual and group decisions in life, and individuals typically resist attempts to trade off their sacred values in exchange for material benefits. Deontological theory suggests that sacred values are processed based on rights and wrongs irrespective of outcomes, while utilitarian theory suggests that they are processed based on costs and benefits of potential outcomes, but which mode of processing an individual naturally uses is unknown. The study of decisions over sacred values is difficult because outcomes cannot typically be realized in a laboratory, and hence little is known about the neural representation and processing of sacred values. We used an experimental paradigm that used integrity as a proxy for sacredness and which paid real money to induce individuals to sell their personal values. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we found that values that people refused to sell (sacred values) were associated with increased activity in the left temporoparietal junction and ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, regions previously associated with semantic rule retrieval. This suggests that sacred values affect behaviour through the retrieval and processing of deontic rules and not through a utilitarian evaluation of costs and benefits.

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How knowledge transfer impacts performance: A multilevel model of benefits and liabilities

Organization Science


When does knowledge transfer benefit performance? Combining field data from a global consulting firm with an agent-based model, we examine how efforts to supplement one's knowledge from coworkers interact with individual, organizational, and environmental characteristics to impact organizational performance...

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Historical Roots of the A Behavioral Theory of the Firm Model at GSIA.

Organization Science

Mie Augier, Michael Prietula


Richard Cyert and James March’s (1963) A Behavioral Theory of the Firm (ABTOF) is one of the most influential works in organization science. An important element of that work was a computational model of a duopoly, which was arguably the first computational model that instantiated organizational constructs within a substantial theoretical framework. We suggest that the academic environment within which this theory and model grew was instrumental in its emergence. Furthermore, an examination of the model itself (by triangulating on the verbal descriptions, the flow charts, and the code) reveals innovative embodiments of organizational attention, organizational learning, organizational memory, routines, metaroutines, aspiration level adjustments, and computational experiments. In this paper, we examine the historical roots of the model—the concepts, culture, and characters at Carnegie Tech and the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA). Although causality is difficult to assess historically, we suggest the significance of a strong research-based, interdisciplinary culture at a time when innovative (and often computational) concepts and theories were emerging within the contexts of computer science, economics, and psychology. A shorter version of this paper won the John F. Mee Award for Management History from the Academy of Management.

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