Daniel Valdenegro Ibarra

Daniel Valdenegro Ibarra


I majored in Psychology (Licentiate) from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. After that I briefly worked for the Financial Minister of Chile as a Human Resources Analyst. On that job I discovered two things. First, Human Resources are not for me. And second, working for a greater good -or a bigger cause- is far more motivating than working just for the money. That was the reason I decided to go back to the academic world to do research on something meaningful. I was lucky enough to work for several years in the excellent Social Psychology Lab of my Alma Mater, doing research on Intergroup Contact, Prejudice Reduction, Collective Actions, and Social Inequalities. There, under the guide of Prof. Roberto Gonzalez and Prof. Jorge Manzi, I learned from the bottom up all the steps of a proper scientific study. There I also acquired my taste for coding and data analytics. Being a Lab focused on empirical research of social and groups phenomena, the Social Psych Lab was not afraid of recruiting professionals from the fields of sociology, psychology, political science, econometrics and data analysis. Thanks to that I learned a lot about statistic and coding, but also about interview techniques and qualitative data analysis. The Lab also encourage young members to pursue the academic career applying for post-graduates degrees abroad. Actually, it was because of Dr. Héctor Carvacho, Assistant Prof. of the  School of Psychology and Associated Researcher of the Social Psych Lab, that I applied to a PGR in Computational Social Science in the Univeristy of Leeds with Dr. Viktoria Spaiser and Dr. Richard Mann as my supervisors. He highly recommend my current supervisors and I cannot be more grateful for that. So far the experience of working with Dr. Spaiser and Dr. Mann has being amazing and challenging at the same time. I have learned a lot from them in just a few months and I'm looking forward for the new challenges and projects that are waiting for me in the future.

Research interests

Broadly speaking, I'm interested in the use of "big data" from digital sources -such as social media, IoT or just general digital footprint- to model human behaviour.  My current PhD project attempts to use the public digital footprint on social media of populations that are currently undergoing periods of social unrest to extract their general emotional patterns, all of this with the goal to build a predictive model of activism based on theses parameters.

More specifically, I'm interested in: 

- Programming in the context of data analytics and data visualisation.

- Network dynamics and network analytics.

- Automated Natural Language Processing and text mining.

- Machine learning and deep learning for social sciences.

- Applied mathematical modelling for social sciences.

I'm reasonably proficient in R, Python, Bash/Zsh and Javascript and I'm currently learning Golang.

P.S. I like coding because I love the beautiful color schemes of the code editors. They are so adorable! Don't tell anyone though.


  • Licentiate in Psychology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile