[gov3009-l] Damon Centola on 'Diffusion in Social Networks'

Justin Grimmer jgrimmer at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Oct 15 18:08:57 EDT 2007

Dear Applied Statistics Community,

The applied statistics workshop is back for another exciting installment.
This week we have Damon Centola, RWJ Scholar, Harvard University to present
on 'Diffusion in Social Networks: New Theory and Experiments' .  Damon
provided the following abstract for his talk:

The strength of weak ties is that they tend to be long – they connect
socially distant locations. Research on "small worlds" shows that these
long ties can dramatically reduce the "degrees of separation" of a
social network, thereby allowing ideas and behaviors to rapidly diffuse.
However, I show that the opposite can also be true. Increasing the
frequency of long ties in a clustered social network can also inhibit
the diffusion of collective behavior across a population. For health
related behaviors that require strong social reinforcement, such as
dieting, exercising, smoking, or even condom use, successful diffusion
may depend primarily on the width of bridges between otherwise distant
locations, not just their length. I present formal and computational
results that demonstrate these findings, and then propose an
experimental design for empirically testing the effects of social
network topology on the diffusion of health behavior.

The workshop is held on Wednesday at 12 noon in room N 354, CGIS Knafel
(1737 Cambridge St).  And a light lunch will be served.

If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesistate to contact me,

Justin Grimmer
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