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Communication researchers have been studying homophily since the end of WWII. Barnlund identified it as a key variable as far back as his early 1968 book, Interpersonal Communication. A cursory search in the EBESCI database for scholarly pieces since 1965 found over since 70 such pieces. It is nice to know that someone is studying the EVOLUTION of the construct.

Phil Salem

From: James Fowler <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: James Fowler <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Thursday, November 15, 2012 6:01 AM
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: The Evolution of Homophily

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Our take on why birds of a feather flock together.....

http://www.nature.com/srep/2012/121113/srep00845/full/srep00845.html

The Evolution of Homophily
Feng Fu, Martin A. Nowak, Nicholas A. Christakis, James H. Fowler

Biologists have devoted much attention to assortative mating or homogamy, the tendency for sexual species to mate with similar others.  In contrast, there has been little theoretical work on the broader phenomenon of homophily, the tendency for individuals to interact with similar others.  Yet this behaviour is also widely observed in nature.  Here, we model how natural selection can give rise to homophily when individuals engage in social interaction in a population with multiple observable phenotypes.  Payoffs to interactions depend on whether or not individuals have the same or different phenotypes, and each individual has a preference that determines how likely they are to interact with others of their own phenotype (homophily) or of opposite phenotypes (heterophily).  The results show that homophily tends to evolve under a wide variety of conditions, helping to explain its ubiquity in nature.

Best,
james

James H. Fowler
Professor of Medical Genetics and Political Science
UC San Diego
http://jhfowler.ucsd.edu

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