Social contagion theory: examining dynamic social networks and human behavior

Citation

Christakis, N. A. & Fowler, J. H. (2013). Social contagion theory: examining dynamic social networks and human behavior. Stat Med. vol. 32 (4) pp. 556-77 , PMCID: PMC3830455

Abstract

Here, we review the research we have conducted on social contagion. We describe the methods we have employed (and the assumptions they have entailed) to examine several datasets with complementary strengths and weaknesses, including the Framingham Heart Study, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, and other observational and experimental datasets that we and others have collected. We describe the regularities that led us to propose that human social networks may exhibit a 'three degrees of influence' property, and we review statistical approaches we have used to characterize interpersonal influence with respect to phenomena as diverse as obesity, smoking, cooperation, and happiness. We do not claim that this work is the final word, but we do believe that it provides some novel, informative, and stimulating evidence regarding social contagion in longitudinally followed networks. Along with other scholars, we are working to develop new methods for identifying causal effects using social network data, and we believe that this area is ripe for statistical development as current methods have known and often unavoidable limitations.

URL

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22711416/

Notes

Christakis, Nicholas A

Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Stat Med

Author(s)

Christakis, N. A.
Fowler, J. H.

Year Published

2013

Volume Number

32

Issue Number

4

Pages

556-77

Edition

2012/06/20

ISSN/ISBN

1097-0258 (Electronic)

DOI

10.1002/sim.5408

PMCID

PMC3830455

NIHMSID

Nihms524812

Reference ID

4754