February 20, 2009

Add Health research on genetic influence in social networks is featured in HarvardScience

A study to examine the inherited characteristics of social networks using Add Health data appeared in HarvardScience. The research was conducted by James Fowler and Christopher Dawes of UC San Diego and Nicholas Christakis of Harvard.

“Researchers found that popularity, or the number of times an individual was named as a friend, and the likelihood that those friends know one another, were both strongly heritable. Additionally, location within the network, or the tendency to be at the center or on the edges of the group, was also genetically linked. However, the researchers were surprised to learn that the number of people named as a friend by an individual did not appear to be inherited…

“‘One of the things that the study tells us is that social networks are likely to be a fundamental part of our genetic heritage,’ says Fowler.” (January 26, 2009. The genes in your congeniality: Researchers identify genetic influence in social networks. In HarvardScience.)

To read the entire article, click here.

Some media outlets may require free user registration or a subscription. Most articles are available at the URLs provided for a limited time, usually two weeks or less.

This article is based on research published as the following:

Fowler, James H., Christopher T. Dawes, and Nicholas A. Christakis. 2009. Model of Genetic Variation in Human Social Networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106, no. 6: 1720-24.