Tag Archives: graph theory

Acquiring Social Network Knowledge

The shotgun approach isn’t just the name of the blog. I live it. I have so many projects going that I buy file folders by the pallet.

The one I’m really excited about at the moment is an attempt to bring together the two worlds I’ve been living in for the past year – cognitive psychology and social networks – and keep myself working on my dissertation at the same time.

For this project, I’ll be running several online experiments. The main goal is to characterize exactly how humans acquire and retain social network information.

I’ll be posting links to experiments and results here as time allows. For now, I’ll list the first few hypotheses I’ll be testing:

  • Human subjects will acquire a network’s structure more quickly if it resembles a true human social network rather than an arbitrary network. To operationalize this, I will measure learning curves as subjects learn the structure of random or scale-free graphs.
  • Human subjects will acquire a network’s structure more quickly if it is framed as a social network as opposed to the same network framed in some other manner (e.g. a computer or transport network.)
  • Some forms of representation of the network will lead to faster acquisition than others. For example, you might represent a network as a series of edges between vertices (e.g. friendships between people) or you might represent a network as a traversal of the links within it (think of following links in the Kevin Bacon Game). Some forms will lead to faster acquisition than others, and this will allow us to draw conclusions about how graph information is represented in the brain.

Check back for updates on this project, and please leave feedback and questions.

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