View on GitHub


Katherine O’Toole

I am a PhD student in Northwestern University’s Technology and Social Behavior program, and work with Agnes Horvat in the LINK lab.



In my research, I investigate how technological affordances can facilitate creativity for both individuals and groups. My work aims to develop computational models of the processes involved in collective creativity and cultural evolution, and to examine Human-Computer Interaction in order to identify ways in which technology can be leveraged to support creativity both in individual and collaborative settings. In my work, I utilize data science, machine learning, statistical modeling, and social network analysis to explore the multifaceted dimensions of human-computer interactions and to identify ways to design technical tools and platforms that can support creative expression and collaboration, with a particular focus on music. I am particularly interested in examining the dynamics of co-creative behaviors within socio-technical systems, and my work leverages digital trace data to investigate how distributed creativity emerges as individuals extend and build on existing knowledge within a domain. Additionally, In my work in digital music instrument design, I have explored how we can use technology to expand existing paradigms of music creation by developing a wearable system that allows a user to create and manipulate sound through gestural movements.

Outside of my academic work, I am a classically trained flautist currently studying traditional Irish music.


In my latest paper, Extending Human Creativity with AI, published in the Journal of Creativity, I examine how AI technologies can be leveraged to support human creativity, particularly through the development of new creative practices and forms of expression.

My paper, Collaborative Creativity in TikTok Duets was published in the Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’23), April 23–28, 2023, Hamburg, Germany. In this paper, I explore how the technical affordances of the Duet feature structure collaborative interactions between musicians on the TikTok platform and shape the development of a distributed creative process.

Novelty and Cultural Evolution in Modern Popular Music, is available to read in EPJ Data Science. In this paper, I use computational methodologies to measure novelty in the aural and lyrical attributes of songs, and examine relationships between song novelty and the likelihood of commercial success.