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SOCNET  January 2006

SOCNET January 2006

Subject:

Re: CSS & "A Million Little Pieces"

From:

David Gibson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

David Gibson <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 23 Jan 2006 11:38:57 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (301 lines)

***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****

Thanks, Don, for the plug. In the article he referred to (cite below) I
analyze observational data (who spoke to whom and when in business
meetings) in conjunction with network questionnaire data. My premise is
that behavior--including but not limited to conversational behavior--is
subject to myriad constraints that complicate and even confound the
translation of subjective ties (e.g. who considers whom a friend) into
observed behavior. I didn't QAP the matrices but never expected them to
correlate well, since ties only engender behavior insofar as the flow of
action creates the right opportunities. My approach was to ask whether
particular conversational behaviors (such as talking to someone after
they address the group) were especially likely to coincide with
pre-existing network ties controlling for the distribution of
conversational opportunities. The cite:

Gibson, D. R. (2005). "Taking Turns and Talking Ties: Network Structure
and Conversational Sequences." American Journal of Sociology 110(6):
1561-97.

I explore a similar problem in another recent article, where I simulate
dyadic encounters given starting ("friendship") networks and scheduling
constraints--the fact that if you're here you can't be somewhere else.
(As one anonymous reviewer noted, it's ironic that we're only now
discovering scheduling constraints given that electronic communication
is relieving them somewhat. Point taken, if you're out there.) Not
surprisingly, the behavioral network doesn't look a whole lot like the
friendship network, especially around central people. More surprising
are the consequences for diffusion. That cite:

Gibson, D. R. (2005). "Concurrency and Commitment: Network Scheduling
and its Consequences for Diffusion." Journal of Mathematical Sociology
29: 295-323.

David Gibson



Don Steiny wrote:

> ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
>
> Steven,
>
> Your comment on the difficulty of getting observable measures
> resonates. I just had the pleasure of attending a conference in Linz
> with Ivan Chase and spending several days traveling and general
> hanging out. He presented work he is currently doing on pecking
> orders in chickens and he studies fish and other vertebrates. He
> describes his work as incredibly tedious analyzing the interactions
> of chickens or fish over 12 hours and recording every contact. This
> requires multiple viewings of video tapes and takes a very long time.
> His most recent (unpublished) paper is on dominance hierarchies in
> chickens and he shows, in a new way, something he has shown before:
> that the intuitive notion of dominance, that the biggest and
> strongest it the top, the second strongest second and so on is not
> the way it works. It is also true that intransitive relationships
> are rare, in that the top chicken pecks those below, but they do not
> peck up (or do so very rarely). One experiment he did he separated
> the animals for a few weeks so they forgot the dominance order, put
> them back together and in more that 2/3 the cases a new hierarchy
> formed. In other words, the linear hierarchies that form do not
> form for the obvious reasons. The point here is that even with
> relatively simple creatures like fish and chickens in small groups
> (4), it is very time consuming and difficult to really observe a
> single aspect of their behavior. If you are familiar with Paul
> Eckman's work on emotions and how we influence each other at a
> subconscious level (discussed in the book recommended at last year's
> Plenary Session by Ron Breiger at SunBelt -- Looking for Spinoza by
> Antonio Damasio), it starts to become clear how daunting a
> "behaviorial" analysis of networks would be. We do rapid (1/25th of
> a second) stereotypical behaviors that seem to be communicating which
> neither we or those we are with are aware of at a conscious level.
> It may be best to look at this at an other level of analysis than as
> networks, such at Harrison White's disciplines, but however you look
> at it it reinforces you (Steven's) point about the difficultly of
> getting observable measures.
>
> Gibson's work on turn taking in group discussions is pretty cool and
> a step in that direction (Harrison White discusses this in the new
> edition of Identity and Control). I think with tools like digital
> video that can be slowed down becoming cheap we can possibly look at
> behavior in small groups, but we would need to know what we were
> looking for. It is much easier said that done.
>
> -Don
>
> > ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
> >
> > Michael,
> >
> > "I do believe that something like actual, 'objective' human
> > behaviors happen in the world." Wow, how un-PC. Can't you get
> > your cultural anthropologist license revoked for saying something
> > like that? :-)
> >
> > My dissertation (way back when) was on this subject of perceived
> > versus observable behavior in network research, and it's been the
> > main thrust of my research program since. One important point is
> > that it is extremely hard to even *get* observable behavior
> > measures, especially in a network of any appreciable size. So the
> > studies that have looked at this have used very small groups,
> > strange contexts (e.g. HAM radio operators who keep logs),
> > questionable observation schemes (walk through an organization
> > every half hour and write down everyone you see talking), or
> > incomplete records of behavior (i.e. e-mail flows).
> >
> > In cases when people have compared such observations to standard
> > network questionnaire responses, they have found correlations that
> > range from bad to terrible. Some people think these data are noisy
> > (more or less) and by mathematical manipulation we can recover
> > valid info about the actual behavior. I disagree with this and
> > believe (as you seem to) that they are different phenomena. I have
> > done one study showing that self-report data is systematically
> > biased by factors such as one's communication load and position in
> > an organization structure, and another showing that people vary
> > widely in terms of the "evidence" they use for formulating their
> > answers to network questionnaires. Based on this research I've
> > theorized (borrowing Giddens's notion of duality) that networks
> > exist in the domain of social structure, behavior exists in the
> > domain of social interaction, and processes of social activation
> > and social cognition continuously transform one into the other.
> > (Cites to these studies are below and I will send on request.)
> >
> > If you believe this model then you cannot really say that one of
> > the phenomena is more valid or important than the other. People
> > act on the basis of the network they perceive, so you can't hope to
> > explain their behavior by just looking at what they do. Yet the
> > things they actually do have consequences (like transferring
> > information to someone else) whether they accurately perceive this
> > or not, so you can't assess the impact of a network by just looking
> > at people's perceptions, either. Unfortunately, this creates quite
> > a research challenge because you need good data on both phenomena
> > and as I said above the observable is very hard to get.
> >
> > Regarding Krackhardt's cognitive nets, my guess is that they yield
> > a high-quality representation of the collective perceived network
> > rather than a valid measure of behavior. But I know of no study
> > that has done a three-way comparison between perceives, cognitive,
> > and observable networks. If you find one please let me know.
> >
> > Good luck!
> >
> > Steve
> >
> > Corman, S. R., & Scott, C. R. (1994). Perceived communication
> > relationships, activity foci, and observable communication in
> > collectives. Communication Theory, 4, 171-190.
> >
> > Corman, S. R., & Bradford, L. B. (1993) Situational effects on the
> > accuracy of self-reported organizational communication behavior.
> > Communication Research, 20, 822-840.
> >
> > Corman, S. R., & Krizek, R. L. (1993) Accounting resources for
> > organizational communication and individual differences in their
> > use. Management Communication Quarterly, 7, 5-35.
> >
> > ________________________________________________ Steven R. (Steve)
> > Corman Professor, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication Arizona
> > State University http://www.public.asu.edu/~corman
> >
> > Chair, Organizational Communication Division International
> > Communication Association http://www.icahdq.org
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message----- From: Social Networks Discussion Forum
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Michael Reed Sent:
> > Sunday, January 22, 2006 5:55 AM To: [log in to unmask] Subject:
> > [SOCNET] CSS & "A Million Little Pieces"
> >
> > ***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org *****
> >
> > I'm a cultural anthropologist who is new to new SNA; hence, I've
> > turned to Krackhardt's High-Tech Managers data (including the 1987
> > article, "Cognitive Social Structures")--recommended by Wasserman
> > and Faust (1994)--as a way to learn about a "simple," one-mode,
> > 3-relation set of SNA data. (I'm about to conduct similar data
> > collection with a group of 40 women entrepreneurs.)
> >
> > As I was reading the 1987 article (expecting, modestly, to learn
> > some basic SNA skills), I was struck by the actual focus of
> > Krackhardt's research, i.e., the contention that "...what people
> > say...bears no useful resemblance to their behavior" (Bernard et
> > al., 1982). The article bears down on BEHAVIOR ("what actually
> > happened") vs. COGNITION/PERCEPTION ("people's perceptions, often
> > in retrospect, of what actually happened").
> >
> > I am intrigued by Figure 3 in the article, which shows Person 15's
> > "slice" (how he/she sees relations between pairs of the 21
> > managers), vs. Figures 1 & 2 (the "locally aggregated" and
> > "consensus" structures). It is clear that Person 15's perceptions
> > are wildly different from the more "objective" measures. I
> > personally would be concerned if my own perceptions of "reality"
> > varied that much from "actual reality"! I would be tempted to say
> > cynically that Person 15 is "living in a bubble"! (but that's no
> > doubt unfair). For example, in my daily life, I frequently try to
> > do "reality checks" to make certain that my thoughts and
> > perceptions jibe, more or less, with those of other people.
> >
> > Finally, I just happened to read the Krackhardt article right after
> > reading Mary Karr's op-ed piece, "His So-Called Life," in the Jan.
> > 15 NYTimes. Here she weighs in on the recent uproar about James
> > Frey ("A Million Little Pieces") and the question: Should a memoir
> > be held to higher "factual" standards than a piece of fiction? As
> > someone who wrote a daily research journal in Africa and who is now
> > in the midst of trying to finish a novel, I am very interested in
> > whether or not it is even possible for a memoirist to accurately
> > document on paper "the way life and behavior ACTUALLY occurred at
> > some past time." (As a novelist, I am most concerned with what I
> > would call "emotional truth," although getting the "facts" straight
> > is important, too.)
> >
> > I know my own memory to often be extremely "inaccurate"; I don't
> > know if this inaccuracy is a function of my advancing age (54) or
> > simply of the fact that I didn't pay as much attention to memory
> > when I was younger and thus didn't see how problematic it is.
> > Sometimes I'm nearly resigned to believing that all human memory is
> > basically a "creative reconstruction" (done in the present
> > according to present needs and wants) of the past. That's why
> > historians turn to written, archival sources for help (not that
> > they are without bias or error--we can never escape the fact that
> > fallible humans are involved).
> >
> > Still, I do believe that something like actual, "objective" human
> > behaviors happen in the world. The question is, How accurately can
> > we humans measure or remember or understand those behaviors, i.e.,
> > "what really happened"? Krackhardt ends his article by stating,
> > "But the task of future research should not be to show that
> > behaviors are more important than cognitions, nor that cognitions
> > are more important than behaviors. Rather, our task will be to show
> > the consequence of each--behavior and cognitions."
> >
> > As someone who believes that there IS an important difference
> > between a memoir and a piece of fiction, I would have to say that,
> > in some sense, the behaviors must take precedence (although I admit
> > that "behavior" is itself a cognitive creation; we never escape
> > from our mental jail): we need to make certain that our cognition
> > about the past doesn't willfully (or even unintentionally) distort
> > past behaviors.
> >
> > Michael C. Reed, Ph.D. Independent Consultant & Cultural
> > Anthropologist Kalamazoo, Mich., USA [log in to unmask] Tel.
> > 269-342-4025 Cell phone 269-808-8983
> >
> > _____________________________________________________________________
> > SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for
> > social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe,
> > send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
> > UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.
> >
> > _____________________________________________________________________
> > SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for
> > social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe,
> > send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
> > UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.
> >
> >
> >
>
>
> _____________________________________________________________________
> SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for
> social network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe,
> send an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
> UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.


--
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David Gibson

Assistant Professor

Department of Sociology

University of Pennsylvania

3718 Locust Walk

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6299

 

http://www.soc.upenn.edu/~gibsond/


_____________________________________________________________________
SOCNET is a service of INSNA, the professional association for social
network researchers (http://www.insna.org). To unsubscribe, send
an email message to [log in to unmask] containing the line
UNSUBSCRIBE SOCNET in the body of the message.

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