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>As far as the current tempest in a teapot over the small world papers,
>I'm not really sure what's worse: various people distorting the original
>results into an overly-clean "six degrees of seperation" myth, or
>various other people making a big show of "debunking" results which
>weren't there in the first place.  I expect that the world will get
>bored and move on in due time....
>
>-Carter

I couldn't agree more with Carter Butts. Another question, however, which
doesn't appear to receive much attention is whether the "Small World"
phenomenon matters very much.  In most of his work, Milgram liked to create
a splash by producing a flashy and counterintuitive phenomenon and then
move on.

The point is whether the links in the chain which appears to tie two people
together are successively activated outside a deliberate experimental
context.  I happen to be two steps from Queen Elizabeth (through a former
academic colleague who became a politician and then a high government
official in London) and hence three steps from most world leaders.  The
practical significance of this is nil.

Ed Peay


School of Psychology
Flinders University
Adelaide, South Australia