Learning Change

Learning Change Project: 8 Blogs, +7300 Readings

Archive for the ‘Networks’ Category

Structural Patterns of the Occupy Movement on Facebook

In this paper we explore the case of online political movements, that coordinate and interact through social media even more often with the advent of the World Wide Web. Our focus is to characterize information consumption patterns by identifying different actors according to their interaction patterns with pages. As the Occupy movement online presents a geographical diversification of groups we address geographical patterns behind information diffusion.   In this work we study a peculiar example of social organization on Facebook: the Occupy Movement – i.e., an international protest movement against social and economic inequality organized online at a city level. We find that activities are not locally coordinated by geographically close pages, but are driven by pages linked to major US cities that act as hubs within the various groups. Such a pattern is verified even by extracting the backbone structure – i.e., filtering statistically relevant weight heterogeneities – for both the pages-reshares and the pages-common users networks.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

February 10, 2015 at 2:32 pm

Network Ecology and Adolescent Social Structure

Adolescent societies—whether arising from weak, short-term classroom friendships or from close, long-term friendships—exhibit various levels of network clustering, segregation, and hierarchy. Some are rank-ordered caste systems and others are flat, cliquish worlds. Explaining the source of such structural variation remains a challenge, however, because global network features are generally treated as the agglomeration of micro-level tie-formation mechanisms, namely balance, homophily, and dominance. How do the same micro-mechanisms generate significant variation in global network structures? To answer this question we propose and test a network ecological theory that specifies the ways features of organizational environments moderate the expression of tie-formation processes, thereby generating variability in global network structures across settings. We develop this argument using longitudinal friendship data on schools (Add Health study) and classrooms (Classroom Engagement study), and by extending exponential random graph models to the study of multiple societies over time.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

November 20, 2014 at 10:19 am

Networked Knowing

With creative work, much of the knowledge required is implicit. It cannot be found in a manual or text book, and there is no training program to become creative. Informal learning, often with peers, is how creative workers have learned through the ages. We need to take the best aspects of what the artist studios and artisan guilds offered and find ways to replicate these. Social experiments, such as co-work spaces and crowd-funded projects, are emerging in the creative economy. Networks are beginning to replace hierarchies as the organizational model to get work done and exchange value. Jobs are relics of hierarchies. In networks, there is no need for standardized and replaceable jobs. Every node is unique, which strengthens the overall network. In a network, relying on standard approaches only erodes trust, as it does not treat each node as an individual. Knowledge networks are built on human relationships and trust emerges over time.

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Crisis Responses and Management – Learning from Biological Networks

The generality of network properties allows the utilization of the ‘wisdom’ of biological systems surviving crisis events for many millions of years. Yeast protein-protein interaction network shows a decrease in community-overlap (an increase in community cohesion) in stress. Community rearrangement seems to be a cost-efficient, general crisis- management response of complex systems. Inter-community bridges, such as the highly dynamic ‘creative nodes’ emerge as crucial determinants helping crisis survival.

Crisis periods can be slowed down, postponed, or prevented by agents of independent and unpredictable behavior, such as stem cells (in organisms), omnivores or top predators (in ecosystems), or market gurus (in markets). Since biological networks are blueprints of organisms, which survived billions of crisis situations, this above examples highlight their great potential as role models of social behavior.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 2, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Networks in Cognitive Science

Networks of interconnected nodes have long played a key role in Cognitive Science, from artificial neural networks to spreading activation models of semantic memory. Recently, however, a new Network Science has been developed, providing insights into the emergence of global, system-scale properties in contexts as diverse as the Internet, metabolic reactions, and collaborations among scientists. Today, the inclusion of network theory into Cognitive Sciences, and the expansion of complex systems science, promises to significantly change the way in which the organization and dynamics of cognitive and behavioral processes are understood. In this paper, we review recent contributions of network theory at different levels and domains within the Cognitive Sciences.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

June 4, 2014 at 12:03 am

Social Creativity as a function of Agent Cognition and Network Properties

Inventions – concepts, devices, procedures – are often created by networks of interacting agents in which the agents can be individuals (as in a scientific discipline) or they can themselves be collectives (as in firms interacting in a market). Different collectives create and invent at different rates. It is plausible that the rate of invention is jointly determined by properties of the agents (e.g., their cognitive capacity) and by properties of the network of interactions (e.g., the density of the communication links), but little is known about such two-level interactions. We present an agent-based model of social creativity in which the individual agent captures key features of the human cognitive architecture derived from cognitive psychology, and the interactions are modeled by agents exchanging partial results of their symbolic processing of task information. We investigated the effect of agent and network properties on rates of invention and diffusion in the network via systematic parameter variations. Simulation runs show, among other results, that (a) the simulation exhibits network effects, i.e., the model captures the beneficial effect of collaboration; (b) the density of connections produces diminishing returns in term of the benefits on the invention rate, and (c) limits on the cognitive capacity of the individual agents have the counterintuitive consequence of focusing their efforts. Limitations and relations to other computer simulation models of creative collectives are discussed.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

May 31, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Transnational Networks of Radical Labour Research

During the last three or four decades labour, union, research and advocacy networks have interacted with networks of anti-capitalist or alter-globalist social justice activists. These interactions have enabled the (self-)organisation of working people across production networks linking the Global North and South. Especially after the crisis erupted in 2007-8, the process has expanded to include networks of self-employed, unemployed, marginalized and increasingly radicalised knowledge and service workers. Online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, but also free, ‘libre’ and open source software (FLOSS), offer new experiences complementary to traditional forms of organization. This Appendix presents a concise overview of networks constituted around the quest for ‘associated social relations of production’, or ‘peer production communities’. Whether labelled hackers, makers, diggers, guerrilla translators and so forth, and involving FLOSS and hardware production, collaborative digital, creative, artistic, media, graphic, and architecture projects, or Do-it-Yourself (DIY) or Do-it-with-Others (DIWO) practices, these networks connect highly educated individual knowledge, information, education and service workers.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

May 16, 2014 at 12:00 am

Social Learning Strategies in Networked Groups

When making decisions, humans can observe many kinds of information about others’ activities, but their effects on performance are not well understood. We investigated social learning strategies using a simple problem-solving task in which participants search a complex space, and each can view and imitate others’ solutions. Results showed that participants combined multiple sources of information to guide learning, including payoffs of peers’ solutions, popularity of solution elements among peers, similarity of peers’ solutions to their own, and relative payoffs from individual exploration. Furthermore, performance was positively associated with imitation rates at both the individual and group levels. When peers’ payoffs were hidden, popularity and similarity biases reversed, participants searched more broadly and randomly, and both quality and equity of exploration suffered. We conclude that when peers’ solutions can be effectively compared, imitation does not simply permit scrounging, but it can also facilitate propagation of good solutions for further cumulative exploration.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World

Over the past decade there has been a growing public fascination with the complex connectedness of modern society. This connectedness is found in many incarnations: in the rapid growth of the Internet, in the ease with which global communication takes place, and in the ability of news and information as well as epidemics and financial crises to spread with surprising speed and intensity. These are phenomena that involve networks, incentives, and the aggregate behavior of groups of people; they are based on the links that connect us and the ways in which our decisions can have subtle consequences for others. This introductory undergraduate textbook takes an interdisciplinary look at economics, sociology, computing and information science, and applied mathematics to understand networks and behavior. It describes the emerging field of study that is growing at the interface of these areas, addressing fundamental questions about how the social, economic, and technological worlds are connected.

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Read also: e-Study Guide

Written by Giorgio Bertini

February 26, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Crowds, Market, Networks

Tagged with , ,

Self-relations in Social Relations

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This article contributes to an ongoing theoretical effort to extend the insights of relational and network sociology into adjacent domains. We integrate Simmel’s late theory of the relational self into the formal analysis of social relations, generating a framework for theorizing forms of association among self-relating individuals. On this model, every “node” in an interaction has relations not only to others but also to itself, specifically between its ideality and its actuality. We go on to integrate this self-relation into a formal model of social relations. This model provides a way to describe configurations of social interactions defined by the forms according to which social relations realize participants’ ideal selves. We examine four formal dimensions along which these self-relational relationships can vary: distance, symmetry, scope, and actualization.

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Written by Giorgio Bertini

September 25, 2013 at 1:09 pm

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