Ch 5: Groups and Networks

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Groups and Networks
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Different but overlapping
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Social Groups
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>Form the building blocks for society and for most social interaction -Institutions -Networks -Interaction groups -Micro/Macro >\”Emergent properties\” -diamond and graphite
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Georg Simmel
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>Emphasized group size -Dyads vs. Triads, etc. (2 vs. 3) -How group size impacts behavior
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When a third person joins a dyad, that person can fill the role of:
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>Mediator – the conflict resolver >Tertius gaudens – the person who profits from disagreement from others >Divide et impera (\”divide and conquer\”) – the individual who purposefully breaks up the other two Structural power in networks (dating & business relationships) >Also, group size and cooperation in social dilemmas (individual interest separate from group interest
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Social Groups (size)
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>As group size increases, the number of possible relationships increase – in a group of 3, 3 possible relationships exist, but in a group of 4, 6 possible relationships exist
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Structural Balance: Balance Theory
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>Fritz Heider >Balance Theory -The friend of my friend is my friend -The enemy of my friend is my enemy -Relies on cognitive dissonance (not balanced, hold 2 beliefs that are contradictory, strain on your world view) >Multiply The 3 signs to determine balanced or not
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Balance Theory Examples
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>Spock friends with Kurt, Im friends with Kurt, so Spock and I are friends (+)(+)(+) = + [balanced] >Spock likes math, I dislike math, so I dislike Spock (-)(-)(+) = + [balanced] >Spock hates math, I hate Spock, so I hate math (-)(-)(-) = – [unbalanced ]
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Robert Michels: Iron Law of Oligarchy
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Oligarchy – a system of human organization in which more power is held by a few – dominant class or governing elite >Any group with more than a very small number of members (maybe larger than 5-10) cannot possibly function without SOME level of oligarchy
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Groups-Influence: The Sherif Autokeinetic Experiment
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>Was designed to observe the influence of other when faced with uncertainty -Dot in a dark room appeared to move (but didn’t really) -Put subjects in groups and tried to influence them, it worked
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Asch Test
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>An \”experiment\” developed in the late 1940s that shows how much people are influenced by the actions or norms of a group >Change answer to conform with group
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Groupthink
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>The tendency of group members to conform, resulting in a narrow view of some issue >Have descent crushed >Especially vulnerable when… -Members have similar background -Group is insulated from outsiders -No clear rules for decision making Examples: Pearl Harbor Challenger – O rings became ridged with low temp, pressure to launch outweighed safety concerns
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Nodes
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>The individual units represented in the network – these can be people, organizations, groups, or whatever
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Ties
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>Are relationships between the nodes in a network – these can be friendships, business interactions, communications, or whatever
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Social Network
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>A set of nodes held together by a structure of ties
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Centrality
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>A type of networks measure of how \”important\” or \”popular\” a particular node is in a given network >Often ignores individual attributes (deemphasize individual)
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Social Ties – Properties of Relations
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>Types: -Sentiment (friendship/enemyship, affection, admiration, hostility) -Transactions or exchanges (gifts, money, advice, ect.) -Communications (diffusion of information) -Authority/power: Give/accepts orders -Almost anything else >Directionality -Symmetrical/asymmetrical -Friendships, Power relations, celebrity >Sign -Positive or negative >Intensity (tie strength) -Absent to weak to very strong
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From Groups to Networks
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>Size >Subcomponents or sub-networks (cliques) >Density = # actual ties/ # possible ties >Structural holes are gaps between network clusters A – isolated, better for disease outbreak B- Center, better for info (not isolated) >Some implications -Information, diseases happiness (facebook study)
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The Strength of Weak Ties (Granovetter)
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>Strong ties link you to primary groups >Weak ties link you to the rest of the world Why? Homophily & Redundancy Illustration: -Where to get information about potential jobs? >Go to weak ties for potential jobs/relationships
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Homophily
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\”Birds of a feather flock together\” >Less novel information
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Redundancy
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>Already have in common with strong ties, info & structure is redundant (brother referring you to uncle)
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\”Friendship Paradox\”
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>Your friends have more friends than you on average >Those with many friends show up in many friendship relations, those with fewer show up in fewer >Imagine a person who has 20 friends, none of whom has any other friends (extreme clustering) -20 people experience having a friend who has more friends than they do -1 experiences having friends who have fewer friends than she does (minority of people have more friends than their friends)
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Why is the friendship paradox important?
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>Your perception of \”normal\” comes from your friends, lovers, ect. -Person with 20 friends (lovers) makes 20 people feel deprived, while everyone else makes just one person feel advantaged -You’re more normal than you think >That person & their behavior is looked at by many as normal, when in fact only that person sees what is normal by observing everyone else >People will sanction a person who uphold a norm that they privately disagree with – after conforming themselves -You assume people act a certain way do so b/c it’s what they believe, but they may disagree with it & just do it b/c its a norm ex: Prejudiced attitudes, Binge Drinking, Sexual Norms, Emperor’s new clothes story
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Pluralistic Ignorance
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>People think there is a norm, but it is false -example: Want equality when alone, but together are homophobic
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Homophily Principle
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>Ties between similar people occur at higher rater than ties between dissimilar people (heterophily) >Vast majority of tie types show homophily -Marriage, friendships, work, advice, support, information transfer, etc. >Important for many reasons: -Affects type (and amount) of information we receive, who (else) we meet, how we behave, etc.
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Baseline Homophily
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>Results from demographic make-up of the potential tie pool (expected homophily if ties were chosen at random) -More race-based homophily at Benedict than USC -More religion-based homophily at Bob Jones than USC (1/2 men and 1/2 women, you would expect the ties to be approximately evenly distributed)
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Inbreeding Homophily
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>Occurs over and above baseline homophily or opportunity set (above what you’s expect at random) – Because of direct choices, or because of group membership or activities (more male-male and female-female ties seen in an evenly distributed group
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NUmerical Homophily
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>The number of people in a population >Determines majority/minority (whites are the numerical & socyological majority, in south america, not numerical majority, but societal majority)
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Status-Based vs. Value Based Homophily
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>Status-based homophily – similarity based on major socio-demographic dimensions -Ascribed characteristics: race, ethnicity, sex, age -Acquired characteristics: education, occupation >Value-based homophily – values, attitudes, and beliefs
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Causes of Homophily
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>Geography – space (neighbors) -Impacts baseline homophily >Family – type of person you marry -Marry similar others; expose friends & family to similar others) >Organizations – kinda like geography -Schools, churches, clubs, & voluntary associations; occupations key places for relation formation >Choice – don’t talk to people who like Donald Trump -Like minded people attract each other for a variety of reasons >Influence – conservative & liberal leaning friends pull each other to the center -Friends become more similar over time
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6 Degrees of Separation
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>Study, letters given to midwesterner and had to send to friends & eventually reach a Boston stockbroker >Took on average 6 ties before reaching target
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Small World Problem
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>People are more connected than you think >Bridges are key! -Of letters received by Stockbroker, 25% passed through same local clothing merchant >Roughly 6 degrees of separation between any 2 in the world
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The Wealth of Networks
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>The Internet has facilitated an open-source, or peer-based, production model, which promotes access to the end product’s source materials >Wikipedia and Linux are two examples of open-source platforms —> For everyone to see & change

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