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Subject: today - complexity digest
From: Barry Wellman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Barry Wellman <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 2 Sep 2011 14:53:50 -0400

TEXT/PLAIN (60 lines)

*****  To join INSNA, visit  *****

  Barry Wellman

   S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC               NetLab Director
   Department of Sociology                  725 Spadina Avenue, Room 388
   University of Toronto   Toronto Canada M5S 2J4   twitter:barrywellman             fax:+1-416-978-3963
   Updating history:

Complexity , arXiv

Abstract: The term complexity derives etymologically from the Latin 
plexus, which means interwoven. Intuitively, this implies that something 
complex is composed by elements that are difficult to separate. This 
difficulty arises from the relevant interactions that take place between 
components. This lack of separability is at odds with the classical 
scientific method - which has been used since the times of Galileo, 
Newton, Descartes, and Laplace - and has also influenced philosophy and 
engineering. In recent decades, the scientific study of complexity and 
complex systems has proposed a paradigm shift in science and philosophy, 
proposing novel methods that take into account relevant interactions.

* [5] Complexity, Carlos Gershenson, 2011/08/31, arXiv:1109.0214



  The unfriending problem: The consequences of homophily in friendship
retention for causal estimates of social influence , Social Networks

Abstract: An increasing number of scholars are using longitudinal social 
network data to try to obtain estimates of peer or social influence 
effects. These data may provide additional statistical leverage, but they 
can introduce new inferential problems. In particular, while the 
confounding effects of homophily in friendship formation are widely 
appreciated, homophily in friendship retention may also confound causal 
estimates of social influence in longitudinal network data. We provide 
evidence for this claim in a Monte Carlo analysis of the statistical model 
used by Christakis, Fowler, and their colleagues in numerous articles 
estimating contagion effects in social networks. Our results indicate that 
homophily in friendship retention induces significant upward bias and 
decreased coverage levels in the Christakis and Fowler model if there is 
non-negligible friendship attrition over time.

* [8] The unfriending problem: The consequences of homophily in friendship 
retention for causal estimates of social influence, Hans Noel, Brendan 
Nyhan, 2011/07, DOI: 10.1016/j.socnet.2011.05.003, Social Networks Volume 
33, Issue 3, Pages 211-218


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