Olivia J Chu

|Research Associate
Academic Appointments
  • Research Associate

  • Lecturer

Connect with Us

My research focuses on the dynamics of behavior, in both human and animal populations, and in particular, the effects that different forms of heterogeneity have on these dynamics. I explore questions relating to: cooperation within and between groups; personality types and their role in social integration; the dynamics of power; the rule of law; puzzling altruistic behavior in animal communities; plant community dynamics; and how we can take advantage of small-scale, interpersonal interactions to avoid large-scale polarization in an increasingly divided world. I use a combination of mathematical modeling, computational simulations, and data collection to answer these questions, and aim to gain insight into how we might be able to make our world (or at least our own social networks) more cooperative, kind, and fair. I also serve as a mentor for a wide range of undergraduate research projects across math, computer science, and QSS. During my time at Dartmouth, I've advised two senior honors theses, an independent study, a reading course, a UGAR leave term grant project, and two Neukom Scholars grant recipients. 


Kemeny Hall, Room 211
HB 6188




  • B.A. New York University, 2015
  • Ph.D. Princeton University, 2021

Selected Publications

  • Olivia J. Chu, Jonathan F. Donges, Graeme B. Robertson, and Grigore Pop-Eleches. The microdynamics of spatial polarization: A model and an application to survey data from Ukraine. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(50), 2021.

    Zachary Nathan*, Daniel DiPietro*, and Olivia J. Chu. An evolutionary game theory model of altruism via arrhenotoky. Preprint (manuscript availble soon).

    Olivia J. Chu, Vítor V. Vasconcelos, and Corina E. Tarnita. The role of loners in the evolution of cooperation in group-structured populations. Preprint (prelimimary version available in my thesis)

    Olivia J. Chu, Atticus W. McWhorter, and Louis Fan. Heterogeneous preferences and personality in adaptive network models. Preprint (manuscript availble soon). 

    Olivia J. Chu. Heterogeneity in human populations, from structure to personality–a modeling and data approach. PhD thesis, Princeton University, 2021. (link: https://dataspace.princeton.edu/handle/88435/dsp01gb19f894t)

    * indicates an undergraduate co-author