***** To join INSNA, visit http://www.insna.org ***** This question about the relationship between behavior and people's reports of behavior was debated heavily in the late 70's and throughout the 80's. For a review of this work (Bernard, Killworth, Sailer, Freeman and Freeman, Romney, Faust, Weller etc.) see: J.C. Johnson. "Anthropological Contributions to the Study of Social Networks: A Review." In (S. Wasserman and J. Galaskiowicz, eds.) Advances in Social Network Analysis: Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Sage: Newbury Park. 1994. And J.C. Johnson and M.K. Orbach. "Perceiving the Political Landscape: Ego Biases in Cognitive Political Networks". Social Networks 24 (2002) 291-310. -----Original Message----- From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Michael Reed Sent: Sunday, January 22, 2006 7:55 AM To: [log in to unmask] Subject: 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). 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