SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Network science

173

Human communication in social networks is dominated by emergent statistical laws such as non-trivial correlations and temporal clustering. Recently, we found long-term correlations in the user’s activity in social communities. Here, we extend this work to study the collective behavior of the whole community with the goal of understanding the origin of clustering and long-term persistence. At the individual level, we find that the correlations in activity are a byproduct of the clustering expressed in the power-law distribution of inter-event times of single users, i.e. short periods of many events are separated by long periods of no events. On the contrary, the activity of the whole community presents long-term correlations that are a true emergent property of the system, i.e. they are not related to the distribution of inter-event times. This result suggests the existence of collective behavior, possibly arising from nontrivial communication patterns through the embedding social network.

Concepts: Time, Sociology, Networks, Community, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network

171

Network motifs are small connected sub-graphs that have recently gathered much attention to discover structural behaviors of large and complex networks. Finding motifs with any size is one of the most important problems in complex and large networks. It needs fast and reliable algorithms and tools for achieving this purpose. CytoKavosh is one of the best choices for finding motifs with any given size in any complex network. It relies on a fast algorithm, Kavosh, which makes it faster than other existing tools. Kavosh algorithm applies some well known algorithmic features and includes tricky aspects, which make it an efficient algorithm in this field. CytoKavosh is a Cytoscape plug-in which supports us in finding motifs of given size in a network that is formerly loaded into the Cytoscape work-space (directed or undirected). High performance of CytoKavosh is achieved by dynamically linking highly optimized functions of Kavosh’s C++ to the Cytoscape Java program, which makes this plug-in suitable for analyzing large biological networks. Some significant attributes of CytoKavosh is efficiency in time usage and memory and having no limitation related to the implementation in motif size. CytoKavosh is implemented in a visual environment Cytoscape that is convenient for the users to interact and create visual options to analyze the structural behavior of a network. This plug-in can work on any given network and is very simple to use and generates graphical results of discovered motifs with any required details. There is no specific Cytoscape plug-in, specific for finding the network motifs, based on original concept. So, we have introduced for the first time, CytoKavosh as the first plug-in, and we hope that this plug-in can be improved to cover other options to make it the best motif-analyzing tool.

Concepts: Algorithm, Graph theory, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network, Discrete mathematics, Algorithmic efficiency

44

Application of social network analysis to education has revealed how social network positions of K-12 students correlate with their behavior and academic achievements. However, no study has been conducted on how their social network influences their academic progress over time. Here we investigated correlations between high school students' academic progress over one year and the social environment that surrounds them in their friendship network. We found that students whose friends' average GPA (Grade Point Average) was greater (or less) than their own had a higher tendency toward increasing (or decreasing) their academic ranking over time, indicating social contagion of academic success taking place in their social network.

Concepts: Grade, Education, Sociology, High school, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network

42

Social systems are in a constant state of flux, with dynamics spanning from minute-by-minute changes to patterns present on the timescale of years. Accurate models of social dynamics are important for understanding the spreading of influence or diseases, formation of friendships, and the productivity of teams. Although there has been much progress on understanding complex networks over the past decade, little is known about the regularities governing the microdynamics of social networks. Here, we explore the dynamic social network of a densely-connected population of ∼1,000 individuals and their interactions in the network of real-world person-to-person proximity measured via Bluetooth, as well as their telecommunication networks, online social media contacts, geolocation, and demographic data. These high-resolution data allow us to observe social groups directly, rendering community detection unnecessary. Starting from 5-min time slices, we uncover dynamic social structures expressed on multiple timescales. On the hourly timescale, we find that gatherings are fluid, with members coming and going, but organized via a stable core of individuals. Each core represents a social context. Cores exhibit a pattern of recurring meetings across weeks and months, each with varying degrees of regularity. Taken together, these findings provide a powerful simplification of the social network, where cores represent fundamental structures expressed with strong temporal and spatial regularity. Using this framework, we explore the complex interplay between social and geospatial behavior, documenting how the formation of cores is preceded by coordination behavior in the communication networks and demonstrating that social behavior can be predicted with high precision.

Concepts: Sociology, Systems theory, Social psychology, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network, Social systems

33

It is widely recognized that social networks and loneliness have effects on health. The present study assesses the differential association that the components of the social network and the subjective perception of loneliness have with health, and analyzes whether this association is different across different countries.

Concepts: Sociology, Networks, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network

30

Social network analysis provides a perspective and method for inquiring into the structures that comprise online groups and communities. Traces from interaction via social media provide the opportunity for understanding how a community is formed and maintained online.

Concepts: Sociology, Community building, Social network, Virtual community, Network theory, Network science, Complex network, Social network aggregation

23

Understanding how youth football players base their game interactions may constitute a solid criterion for fine-tuning the training process and, ultimately, to achieve better individual and team performances during competition. The present study aims to explore how passing networks and positioning variables can be linked to the match outcome in youth elite association football. The participants included 44 male elite players from under-15 and under-17 age groups. A passing network approach within positioning-derived variables was computed to identify the contributions of individual players for the overall team behaviour outcome during a simulated match. Results suggested that lower team passing dependency for a given player (expressed by lower betweenness network centrality scores) and high intra-team well-connected passing relations (expressed by higher closeness network centrality scores) were related to better outcomes. The correlation between the dyads' positioning regularity and the passing density showed a most likely higher correlation in under-15 (moderate effect), indicating a possible more dependence of the ball position rather than in the under-17 teams (small/unclear effects). Overall, this study emphasizes the potential of coupling notational analyses with spatial-temporal relations to produce a more functional and holistic understanding of teams' sports performance. Also, the social network analysis allowed to reveal novel key determinants of collective performance.

Concepts: Game theory, Sociology, Networks, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Centrality, Football

21

In human societies, cultural norms arise when behaviours are transmitted through social networks via high-fidelity social learning. However, a paucity of experimental studies has meant that there is no comparable understanding of the process by which socially transmitted behaviours might spread and persist in animal populations. Here we show experimental evidence of the establishment of foraging traditions in a wild bird population. We introduced alternative novel foraging techniques into replicated wild sub-populations of great tits (Parus major) and used automated tracking to map the diffusion, establishment and long-term persistence of the seeded innovations. Furthermore, we used social network analysis to examine the social factors that influenced diffusion dynamics. From only two trained birds in each sub-population, the information spread rapidly through social network ties, to reach an average of 75% of individuals, with a total of 414 knowledgeable individuals performing 57,909 solutions over all replicates. The sub-populations were heavily biased towards using the technique that was originally introduced, resulting in established local traditions that were stable over two generations, despite a high population turnover. Finally, we demonstrate a strong effect of social conformity, with individuals disproportionately adopting the most frequent local variant when first acquiring an innovation, and continuing to favour social information over personal information. Cultural conformity is thought to be a key factor in the evolution of complex culture in humans. In providing the first experimental demonstration of conformity in a wild non-primate, and of cultural norms in foraging techniques in any wild animal, our results suggest a much broader taxonomic occurrence of such an apparently complex cultural behaviour.

Concepts: Sociology, Social psychology, Social capital, Social network, Knowledge management, Network theory, Network science, Sociolinguistics

16

Homophily, the tendency of individuals to associate with others who share similar traits, has been identified as a major driving force in the formation and evolution of social ties. In many cases, it is not clear if homophily is the result of a socialization process, where individuals change their traits according to the dominance of that trait in their local social networks, or if it results from a selection process, in which individuals reshape their social networks so that their traits match those in the new environment. Here we demonstrate the detailed temporal formation of strong homophily in academic achievements of high school and university students. We analyze a unique dataset that contains information about the detailed time evolution of a friendship network of 6,000 students across 42 months. Combining the evolving social network data with the time series of the academic performance (GPA) of individual students, we show that academic homophily is a result of selection: students prefer to gradually reorganize their social networks according to their performance levels, rather than adapting their performance to the level of their local group. We find no signs for a pull effect, where a social environment of good performers motivates bad students to improve their performance. We are able to understand the underlying dynamics of grades and networks with a simple model. The lack of a social pull effect in classical educational settings could have important implications for the understanding of the observed persistence of segregation, inequality and social immobility in societies.

Concepts: Sociology, Networks, Social capital, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Mathematical sociology, Homophily

15

Assortative mixing in networks is the tendency for nodes with the same attributes, or metadata, to link to each other. It is a property often found in social networks, manifesting as a higher tendency of links occurring between people of the same age, race, or political belief. Quantifying the level of assortativity or disassortativity (the preference of linking to nodes with different attributes) can shed light on the organization of complex networks. It is common practice to measure the level of assortativity according to the assortativity coefficient, or modularity in the case of categorical metadata. This global value is the average level of assortativity across the network and may not be a representative statistic when mixing patterns are heterogeneous. For example, a social network spanning the globe may exhibit local differences in mixing patterns as a consequence of differences in cultural norms. Here, we introduce an approach to localize this global measure so that we can describe the assortativity, across multiple scales, at the node level. Consequently, we are able to capture and qualitatively evaluate the distribution of mixing patterns in the network. We find that, for many real-world networks, the distribution of assortativity is skewed, overdispersed, and multimodal. Our method provides a clearer lens through which we can more closely examine mixing patterns in networks.

Concepts: Sociology, Networks, Social network, Sexual network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network, Social networks