Dan Mønster

Staff portrait: Dan Mønster

Dan Mønster is associate professor at the Department.

How long have you been employed at the Department of Economics and Business?
I have been at the department since the beginning of 2013, so that is eight months by now.

What is your background?
By education I am a physicist with a PhD in theoretical particle physics from Aarhus University. After my PhD I worked as an expert consultant in high-performance computing where I helped other researchers optimize and parallelize their code for various supercomputer platforms. I also did my own research on high-temperature superconductivity together with a group from Risø National Laboratory. I then moved in to high performance networking, and especially video streaming and video conferencing. In 2008 I was appointed Chief Technology Officer for the Danish Research Network, and my focus shifted from technology to strategy and organizational development. To help me perform my new duties I started in the MBA programme at the Aarhus School of Business. As part of my MBA studies I worked with some researchers from the MINDLab project, helping them analyse heart rate data from a social interaction experiment. This soon became so interesting that I accepted an offer to start in a postdoc position at the Department of Business Administration and the Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture. When funding for my postdoc ended I was fortunate to receive funding from the Interacting Minds Centre and the new Cognition and Behavior Lab, which allowed me to start in the position as Assistant Professor here at the Department of Economics and Business. Apart from my affiliation with the Interacting Minds Centre I am also Lab Manager for the Cognition and Behavior Lab.

What are your main areas of research?
I am combining two areas of research: social interactions and nonlinear dynamics. That means that my approach to studying social interactions is a dynamic stance, where I look explicitly at how the interactions unfold over time. So I work a lot with time series analysis and use mainly nonlinear methods since the data are non-stationary. My focus up to now has been on emotions in groups and describing the emotional dynamics as captured by various physiological data.

What research projects are you working on at the moment?
I am working on three projects right now. The first one is a social interaction experiment in collaboration with colleagues from MINDLab and ICOA, where I am using a method called recurrence quantification analysis to characterize how physiological markers of emotion evolve over time in individuals and groups. The second is a theoretical project with Dorthe Døjbak Håkonsson where we are developing a new theoretical framework to understand group emotions in a way that goes beyond averages of members in a group. The third is a project with colleagues from Interacting Minds Centre where we are further developing and testing a new method for detecting causal relations in data from coupled nonlinear dynamical systems.

What are you involved in teaching-wise at the moment?
I am teaching the organization part of Principles of Organizations and Management together with Robert Ormrod who is teaching the marketing part of the course.

Are you planning to take part in any conferences or the like abroad in the near future?
I just came back from Chicago where I attended the Fifth International Symposium on Recurrence Plots, and with the Lab starting up and teaching in the fall semester, I don't have any travel plans in the near future.

Are you expecting any visiting researchers from abroad in the near future (or have you had any visitors from abroad recently)?
In the MINDLab group we are collaborating with Rich Burton from Duke University, who has been a frequent visitor and will visit us again in late August.

Are you cooperating with researchers from other departments at AU at the moment?
Yes I am collaborating with people from the Interdisciplinary Center for Organizational Architecture and people from Interacting Minds Centre, who are affiliated with various different departments such as AU Herning, Department for Culture and Society, Department of Aesthetics and Communication, and I also cooperate with Jacob Sherson from Department of Physics and Astronomy.

What do you do when you are not at work?
I spend time with my family. I have three children and a bonus daughter, so there is usually a lot of activity in our home. On the occasions where the children are in their other homes my wife and I work longer hours, but also get more time to socialize and participate in cultural activities. I try to exercise regularly, but unfortunately this is an activity that has been declining over the past couple of years, but when I do it I like running, mountain biking, kayaking and playing squash.

Supplementary question from Julia Nafziger: "How did you come from Physics to Economics/Business?"
It was my MBA studies (which by the way I didn't finish) that brought me back into academia. I discovered that I could apply my physics background to the research in the MINDlab project that I got affiliated with during my MBA. Both my late father and my brother are chartered accountants educated from Aarhus School of Business, so my move has also given me an understanding of their professional background that I didn't have before.

Please give us your suggestion for the next department staff member to be presented:
Damiana Rigamonti

What specific supplementary question would you like him or her to answer?
What has puzzled you the most about Danish culture?

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