Social Cotagion Essay

32556 WordsJan 28, 2014131 Pages
THE DYNAMICS OF SOCIAL CONTAGION A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Cornell University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Vladimir Barash August 2011 © 2011 Vladimir Barash ALL RIGHTS RESERVED THE DYNAMICS OF SOCIAL CONTAGION Vladimir Barash, Ph.D. Cornell University 2011 Social contagion is a subset of contagion which includes all social phenomena that can and do spread via social networks. The notion of how something becomes popular is very relevant to the concept of social contagion. Rumors, fads, and opinions can spread through social networks like wildfire, “infecting” individuals until they become the norm. This thesis investigates the dynamics of social contagion, employing a combination of formal analysis, simulation, and empirical data mining approaches to examine the processes whereby social contagion spreads throughout social networks. I introduce the concept of critical mass for a subclass of social contagion called complex contagion. This concept builds on earlier work to describe the nonlinear dynamics whereby most socially contagious phenomena infect very few people while a few become overwhelmingly popular. I also investigate socially contagious phenomena that arise when rational agents act under conditions of local information. Finally, I examine how my analytic work applies to a large dataset of empirical social contagion and draw implications for further research in the area. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Vladimir Barash is a Ph.D. candidate in Information Science at Cornell University. At Cornell, Vladimir is a member of Prof. Michael Macy’s lab, where he researches diffusion in social networks and social mechanisms as they apply to online communities. Prior to attending Cornell, Vladimir received his B.A. from Yale University. Vladimir was born in Russia,

More about Social Cotagion Essay

Open Document