Social behaviors are often contagious, spreading through a population as individuals imitate the decisions and choices of others. A variety of global phenomena, from innovation adoption to the emergence of social norms and political movements, arise as a result of people following a simple local rule, such as copy what others are doing. However, individuals often lack global knowledge of the behaviors of others and must estimate them from the observations of their friends' behaviors. In some cases, the structure of the underlying social network can dramatically skew an individual's local observations, making a behavior appear far more common locally than it is globally. We trace the origins of this phenomenon, which we call "the majority illusion," to the friendship paradox in social networks. As a result of this paradox, a behavior that is globally rare may be systematically overrepresented in the local neighborhoods of many people, i.e., among their friends. Thus, the "majority illusion" may facilitate the spread of social contagions in networks and also explain why systematic biases in social perceptions, for example, of risky behavior, arise. Using synthetic and real-world networks, we explore how the "majority illusion" depends on network structure and develop a statistical model to calculate its magnitude in a network.
The Majority Illusion in Social Networks Kristina Lerman, Xiaoran Yan, Xin-Zeng Wu
Living organisms need to maintain energetic homeostasis. For many species, this implies taking actions with delayed consequences. For example, humans may have to decide between foraging for high-calorie but hard-to-get, and low-calorie but easy-to-get food, under threat of starvation. Homeostatic principles prescribe decisions that maximize the probability of sustaining appropriate energy levels across the entire foraging trajectory. Here, predictions from biological principles contrast with predictions from economic decision-making models based on maximizing the utility of the endpoint outcome of a choice. To empirically arbitrate between the predictions of biological and economic models for individual human decision-making, we devised a virtual foraging task in which players chose repeatedly between two foraging environments, lost energy by the passage of time, and gained energy probabilistically according to the statistics of the environment they chose. Reaching zero energy was framed as starvation. We used the mathematics of random walks to derive endpoint outcome distributions of the choices. This also furnished equivalent lotteries, presented in a purely economic, casino-like frame, in which starvation corresponded to winning nothing. Bayesian model comparison showed that—in both the foraging and the casino frames—participants’ choices depended jointly on the probability of starvation and the expected endpoint value of the outcome, but could not be explained by economic models based on combinations of statistical moments or on rank-dependent utility. This implies that under precisely defined constraints biological principles are better suited to explain human decision-making than economic models based on endpoint utility maximization.
Recently, the dependence group has been proposed to study the robustness of networks with interdependent nodes. A dependence group means that a failed node in the group can lead to the failures of the whole group. Considering the situation of real networks that one failed node may not always break the functionality of a dependence group, we study a cascading failure model that a dependence group fails only when more than a fraction β of nodes of the group fail. We find that the network becomes more robust with the increasing of the parameter β. However, the type of percolation transition is always first order unless the model reduces to the classical network percolation model, which is independent of the degree distribution of the network. Furthermore, we find that a larger dependence group size does not always make the networks more fragile. We also present exact solutions to the size of the giant component and the critical point, which are in agreement with the simulations well.
The relationship between information and complexity is analyzed using a detailed literature analysis. Complexity is a multifaceted concept, with no single agreed definition. There are numerous approaches to defining and measuring complexity and organization, all involving the idea of information. Conceptions of complexity, order, organization, and “interesting order” are inextricably intertwined with those of information. Shannon's formalism captures information's unpredictable creative contributions to organized complexity; a full understanding of information's relation to structure and order is still lacking. Conceptual investigations of this topic should enrich the theoretical basis of the information science discipline, and create fruitful links with other disciplines that study the concepts of information and complexity.
“Waiting for Carnot”: Information and complexity David Bawden and Lyn Robinson
Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology Early View
We examine all possible statistical pictures of violent conflicts over common era history with a focus on dealing with incompleteness and unreliability of data. We apply methods from extreme value theory on log-transformed data to remove compact support, then, owing to the boundedness of maximum casualties, retransform the data and derive expected means. We find the estimated mean likely to be at least three times larger than the sample mean, meaning severe underestimation of the severity of conflicts from naive observation. We check for robustness by sampling between high and low estimates and jackknifing the data. We study inter-arrival times between tail events and find (first-order) memorylessless of events. The statistical pictures obtained are at variance with the claims about "long peace".
On the tail risk of violent conflict and its underestimation Pasquale Cirillo, Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Although positive incentives for cooperators and/or negative incentives for free-riders in social dilemmas play an important role in maintaining cooperation, there is still the outstanding issue of who should pay the cost of incentives. The second-order free-rider problem, in which players who do not provide the incentives dominate in a game, is a well-known academic challenge. In order to meet this challenge, we devise and analyze a meta-incentive game that integrates positive incentives (rewards) and negative incentives (punishments) with second-order incentives, which are incentives for other players’ incentives. The critical assumption of our model is that players who tend to provide incentives to other players for their cooperative or non-cooperative behavior also tend to provide incentives to their incentive behaviors. In this paper, we solve the replicator dynamics for a simple version of the game and analytically categorize the game types into four groups. We find that the second-order free-rider problem is completely resolved without any third-order or higher (meta) incentive under the assumption. To do so, a second-order costly incentive, which is given individually (peer-to-peer) after playing donation games, is needed. The paper concludes that (1) second-order incentives for first-order reward are necessary for cooperative regimes, (2) a system without first-order rewards cannot maintain a cooperative regime, (3) a system with first-order rewards and no incentives for rewards is the worst because it never reaches cooperation, and (4) a system with rewards for incentives is more likely to be a cooperative regime than a system with punishments for incentives when the cost-effect ratio of incentives is sufficiently large. This solution is general and strong in the sense that the game does not need any centralized institution or proactive system for incentives.
Large-scale data from social media have a significant potential to describe complex phenomena in real world and to anticipate collective behaviors such as information spreading and social trends. One specific case of study is represented by the collective attention to the action of political parties. Not surprisingly, researchers and stakeholders tried to correlate parties' presence on social media with their performances in elections. Despite the many efforts, results are still inconclusive since this kind of data is often very noisy and significant signals could be covered by (largely unknown) statistical fluctuations. In this paper we consider the number of tweets (tweet volume) of a party as a proxy of collective attention to the party, we identify the dynamics of the volume, and show that this quantity has some information on the elections outcome. We find that the distribution of the tweet volume for each party follows a log-normal distribution with a positive autocorrelation over short terms. Furthermore, by measuring the ratio of two consecutive daily tweet volumes, we find that the evolution of the daily volume of a party can be described by means of a geometric Brownian motion. Finally, we determine the optimal period of averaging tweet volume for reducing fluctuations and extracting short-term tendencies. We conclude that the tweet volume is a good indicator of parties' success in the elections when considered over an optimal time window. Our study identifies the statistical nature of collective attention to political issues and sheds light on how to model the dynamics of collective attention in social media.
Twitter-based analysis of the dynamics of collective attention to political parties Young-Ho Eom, Michelangelo Puliga, Jasmina Smailović, Igor Mozetič, Guido Caldarelli
The distribution of firms' growth and firms' sizes is a topic under intense scrutiny. In this paper we show that a thermodynamic model based on the Maximum Entropy Principle, with dynamical prior information, can be constructed that adequately describes the dynamics and distribution of firms' growth. Our theoretical framework is tested against a comprehensive data-base of Spanish firms, which covers to a very large extent Spain's economic activity with a total of 1,155,142 firms evolving along a full decade. We show that the empirical exponent of Pareto's law, a rule often observed in the rank distribution of large-size firms, is explained by the capacity of the economic system for creating/destroying firms, and can be used to measure the health of a capitalist-based economy. Indeed, our model predicts that when the exponent is larger that 1, creation of firms is favored; when it is smaller that 1, destruction of firms is favored instead; and when it equals 1 (matching Zipf's law), the system is in a full macroeconomic equilibrium, entailing "free" creation and/or destruction of firms. For medium and smaller firm-sizes, the dynamical regime changes; the whole distribution can no longer be fitted to a single simple analytic form and numerical prediction is required. Our model constitutes the basis of a full predictive framework for the economic evolution of an ensemble of firms that can be potentially used to develop simulations and test hypothetical scenarios, as economic crisis or the response to specific policy measures.
Thermodynamics of firms' growth Eduardo Zambrano, Alberto Hernando, Aurelio Fernandez-Bariviera, Ricardo Hernando, Angelo Plastino
Detailed knowledge of the energy needs at relatively high spatial and temporal resolution is crucial for the electricity infrastructure planning of a region. However, such information is typically limited by the scarcity of data on human activities, in particular in developing countries where electrification of rural areas is sought. The analysis of society-wide mobile phone records has recently proven to offer unprecedented insights into the spatio-temporal distribution of people, but this information has never been used to support electrification planning strategies anywhere and for rural areas in developing countries in particular. The aim of this project is the assessment of the contribution of mobile phone data for the development of bottom-up energy demand models, in order to enhance energy planning studies and existing electrification practices. More specifically, this work introduces a framework that combines mobile phone data analysis, socioeconomic and geo-referenced data analysis, and state-of-the-art energy infrastructure engineering techniques to assess the techno-economic feasibility of different centralized and decentralized electrification options for rural areas in a developing country. Specific electrification options considered include extensions of the existing medium voltage (MV) grid, diesel engine-based community-level Microgrids, and individual household-level solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The framework and relevant methodology are demonstrated throughout the paper using the case of Senegal and the mobile phone data made available for the 'D4D-Senegal' innovation challenge. The results are extremely encouraging and highlight the potential of mobile phone data to support more efficient and economically attractive electrification plans.
Using Mobile Phone Data for Electricity Infrastructure Planning Eduardo Alejandro Martinez-Cesena, Pierluigi Mancarella, Mamadou Ndiaye, Markus Schläpfer
Complexity and the Arrow of Time [Charles H. Lineweaver, Paul C. W. Davies, Michael Ruse] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. There is a widespread assumption that the universe in general, and life in particular, is 'getting more complex with time'. This book brings together a wide range of experts in science
In the seminal work 'An Evolutionary Approach to Norms', Axelrod identified internalization as one of the key mechanisms that supports the spreading and stabilization of norms. But how does this process work? This paper advocates a rich cognitive model of different types, degrees and factors of norm internalization. Rather than a none-or-all phenomenon, we claim that norm internalization is a dynamic process, whose deepest step occurs when norms are complied with thoughtlessly. In order to implement a theoretical model of internalization and check its effectiveness in sustaining social norms and promoting cooperation, a simulated web-service distributed market has been designed, where both services and agents' tasks are dynamically assigned. Internalizers are compared with agents whose behaviour is driven only by self-interested motivations. Simulation findings show that in dynamic unpredictable scenarios, internalizers prove more adaptive and achieve higher level of cooperation than agents whose decision-making is based only on utility calculation.
Self-Policing Through Norm Internalization: A Cognitive Solution to the Tragedy of the Digital Commons in Social Networks by Daniel Villatoro, Giulia Andrighetto, Rosaria Conte and Jordi Sabater-Mir http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/18/2/2.html
The rapid changes occurring in the higher education domain are placing increasing pressure on the actors in this space to focus efforts on identifying and adopting strategies for success. One particular group of interest are academics or scientists, and the ways that these individuals, or collectives as institutional or discipline-based science systems, make decisions about how best to achieve success in their chosen field. The agent-based model and simulation that we present draws on the hypothetical "strategic publication model" proposed by Mölders, Fink and Weyer (2011), and extends this work by defining experimental settings to implement a prototype ABMS in NetLogo. While considerable work remains to fully resolve theoretical issues relating to the scope, calibration and validation of the model, this work goes some way toward resolving some of the details associated with defining appropriate experimental settings. Also presented are the results of four experiments that focus on exploring the emergent effects of the system that result from varying the strategic mix of actors in the system.
Urbanization promotes economy, mobility, access and availability of resources, but on the other hand, generates higher levels of pollution, violence, crime, and mental distress. The health consequences of the agglomeration of people living close together are not fully understood. Particularly, it remains unclear how variations in the population size across cities impact the health of the population. We analyze the deviations from linearity of the scaling of several health-related quantities, such as the incidence and mortality of diseases, external causes of death, wellbeing, and health-care availability, in respect to the population size of cities in Brazil, Sweden and the USA. We find that deaths by non-communicable diseases tend to be relatively less common in larger cities, whereas the per-capita incidence of infectious diseases is relatively larger for increasing population size. Healthier life style and availability of medical support are disproportionally higher in larger cities. The results are connected with the optimization of human and physical resources, and with the non-linear effects of social networks in larger populations. An urban advantage in terms of health is not evident and using rates as indicators to compare cities with different population sizes may be insufficient.
The non-linear health consequences of living in larger cities Luis E. C. Rocha, Anna E. Thorson, Renaud Lambiotte
Diffusion of information, behavioural patterns or innovations follows diverse pathways depending on a number of conditions, including the structure of the underlying social network, the sensitivity to peer pressure and the influence of media. Here we study analytically and by simulations a general model that incorporates threshold mechanism capturing sensitivity to peer pressure, the effect of `immune' nodes who never adopt, and a perpetual flow of external information. While any constant, non-zero rate of dynamically-introduced innovators leads to global spreading, the kinetics by which the asymptotic state is approached show rich behaviour. In particular we find that, as a function of the density of immune nodes, there is a transition from fast to slow spreading governed by entirely different mechanisms. This transition happens below the percolation threshold of fragmentation of the network, and has its origin in the competition between cascading behaviour induced by innovators and blocking of adoption due to immune nodes. This change is accompanied by a percolation transition of the induced clusters.
Kinetics of Social Contagion Zhongyuan Ruan, Gerardo Iniguez, Marton Karsai, Janos Kertesz
Critical transitions in multistable systems have been discussed as models for a variety of phenomena ranging from the extinctions of species to socio-economic changes and climate transitions between ice-ages and warm-ages. From bifurcation theory we can expect certain critical transitions to be preceded by a decreased recovery from external perturbations. The consequences of this critical slowing down have been observed as an increase in variance and autocorrelation prior to the transition. However especially in the presence of noise it is not clear, whether these changes in observation variables are statistically relevant such that they could be used as indicators for critical transitions. In this contribution we investigate the predictability of critical transitions in conceptual models. We study the the quadratic integrate-and-fire model and the van der Pol model, under the influence of external noise. We focus especially on the statistical analysis of the success of predictions and the overall predictability of the system. The performance of different indicator variables turns out to be dependent on the specific model under study and the conditions of accessing it. Furthermore, we study the influence of the magnitude of transitions on the predictive performance.
The emergence and maintenance of cooperative behavior is a fascinating topic in evolutionary biology and social science. The public goods game (PGG) is a paradigm for exploring cooperative behavior. In PGG, the total resulting payoff is divided equally among all participants. This feature still leads to the dominance of defection without substantially magnifying the public good by a multiplying factor. Much effort has been made to explain the evolution of cooperative strategies, including a recent model in which only a portion of the total benefit is shared by all the players through introducing a new strategy named persistent cooperation. A persistent cooperator is a contributor who is willing to pay a second cost to retrieve the remaining portion of the payoff contributed by themselves. In a previous study, this model was analyzed in the framework of well-mixed populations. This paper focuses on discussing the persistent cooperation in lattice-structured populations. The evolutionary dynamics of the structured populations consisting of three types of competing players (pure cooperators, defectors and persistent cooperators) are revealed by theoretical analysis and numerical simulations. In particular, the approximate expressions of fixation probabilities for strategies are derived on one-dimensional lattices. The phase diagrams of stationary states, the evolution of frequencies and spatial patterns for strategies are illustrated on both one-dimensional and square lattices by simulations. Our results are consistent with the general observation that, at least in most situations, a structured population facilitates the evolution of cooperation. Specifically, here we find that the existence of persistent cooperators greatly suppresses the spreading of defectors under more relaxed conditions in structured populations compared to that obtained in well-mixed population.
We perform a multifractal analysis of the evolution of London's street network from 1786 to 2010. First, we show that a single fractal dimension, commonly associated with the morphological description of cities, does not su ce to capture the dynamics of the system. Instead, for a proper characterization of such a dynamics, the multifractal spectrum needs to be considered. Our analysis reveals that London evolves from an inhomogeneous fractal structure, that can be described in terms of a multifractal, to a homogeneous one, that converges to monofractality. We argue that London's multifractal to monofracal evolution might be a special outcome of the constraint imposed on its growth by a green belt. Through a series of simulations, we show that multifractal objects, constructed through di usion limited aggregation, evolve towards monofractality if their growth is constrained by a non-permeable boundary.
Multifractal to monofractal evolution of the London's street network Roberto Murcio, A. Paolo Masucci, Elsa Arcaute, Michael Batty
Urban systems present hierarchical structures at many different scales. These are observed as administrative regional delimitations, which are the outcome of geographical, political and historical constraints. Using percolation theory on the street intersections and on the road network of Britain, we obtain hierarchies at different scales that are independent of administrative arrangements. Natural boundaries, such as islands and National Parks, consistently emerge at the largest/regional scales. Cities are devised through recursive percolations on each of the emerging clusters, but the system does not undergo a phase transition at the distance threshold at which cities can be defined. This specific distance is obtained by computing the fractal dimension of the clusters extracted at each distance threshold. We observe that the fractal dimension presents a maximum over all the different distance thresholds. The clusters obtained at this maximum are in very good correspondence to the morphological definition of cities given by satellite images, and by other methods previously developed by the authors (Arcaute et al. 2015).
Hierarchical organisation of Britain through percolation theory Elsa Arcaute, Carlos Molinero, Erez Hatna, Roberto Murcio, Camilo Vargas-Ruiz, Paolo Masucci, Jiaqiu Wang, Michael Batty
Economies are instances of complex socio-technical systems that are shaped by the interactions of large numbers of individuals. The individual behavior and decision-making of consumer agents is determined by complex psychological dynamics that include their own assessment of present and future economic conditions as well as those of others, potentially leading to feedback loops that affect the macroscopic state of the economic system. We propose that the large-scale interactions of a nation's citizens with its online resources can reveal the complex dynamics of their collective psychology, including their assessment of future system states. Here we introduce a behavioral index of Chinese Consumer Confidence (C3I) that computationally relates large-scale online search behavior recorded by Google Trends data to the macroscopic variable of consumer confidence. Our results indicate that such computational indices may reveal the components and complex dynamics of consumer psychology as a collective socio-economic phenomenon, potentially leading to improved and more refined economic forecasting.
Introduced by the late Per Bak and his colleagues, self-organized criticality (SOC) has been one of the most stimulating concepts to come out of statistical mechanics and condensed matter theory in the last few decades, and has played a significant role in the development of complexity science. SOC, and more generally fractals and power laws, have attacted much comment, ranging from the very positive to the polemical. The other papers in this special issue (Aschwanden et al, 2014; McAteer et al, 2014; Sharma et al, 2015) showcase the considerable body of observations in solar, magnetospheric and fusion plasma inspired by the SOC idea, and expose the fertile role the new paradigm has played in approaches to modeling and understanding multiscale plasma instabilities. This very broad impact, and the necessary process of adapting a scientific hypothesis to the conditions of a given physical system, has meant that SOC as studied in these fields has sometimes differed significantly from the definition originally given by its creators. In Bak's own field of theoretical physics there are significant observational and theoretical open questions, even 25 years on (Pruessner, 2012). One aim of the present review is to address the dichotomy between the great reception SOC has received in some areas, and its shortcomings, as they became manifest in the controversies it triggered. Our article tries to clear up what we think are misunderstandings of SOC in fields more remote from its origins in statistical mechanics, condensed matter and dynamical systems by revisiting Bak, Tang and Wiesenfeld's original papers.
25 Years of Self-Organized Criticality: Concepts and Controversies Nicholas Watkins, Gunnar Pruessner, Sandra Chapman, Norma Bock Crosby, Henrik Jensen
Online social networks represent a popular and highly diverse class of social media systems. Despite this variety, each of these systems undergoes a general process of online social network assembly, which represents the complicated and heterogeneous changes that transform newly born systems into mature platforms. However, little is known about this process. For example, how much of a network's assembly is driven by simple growth? How does a network's structure change as it matures? How does network structure vary with adoption rates and user heterogeneity, and do these properties play different roles at different points in the assembly? We investigate these and other questions using a unique dataset of online connections among the roughly one million users at the first 100 colleges admitted to Facebook, captured just 20 months after its launch. We first show that different vintages and adoption rates across this population of networks reveal temporal dynamics of the assembly process, and that assembly is only loosely related to network growth. We then exploit natural experiments embedded in this dataset and complementary data obtained via Internet archaeology to show that different subnetworks, e.g., among students and among alumni, matured at different rates toward similar end states. These results shed new light on the processes and patterns of online social network assembly, and may facilitate more effective design for online social systems.
Assembling thefacebook: Using heterogeneity to understand online social network assembly Abigail Z. Jacobs, Samuel F. Way, Johan Ugander, Aaron Clauset
Cooperation lies at the foundations of human societies, yet why people cooperate remains a conundrum. The issue, known as network reciprocity, of whether population structure can foster cooperative behavior in social dilemmas has been addressed by many, but theoretical studies have yielded contradictory results so far—as the problem is very sensitive to how players adapt their strategy. However, recent experiments with the prisoner's dilemma game played on different networks and in a specific range of payoffs suggest that humans, at least for those experimental setups, do not consider neighbors' payoffs when making their decisions, and that the network structure does not influence the final outcome. In this work we carry out an extensive analysis of different evolutionary dynamics, taking into account most of the alternatives that have been proposed so far to implement players' strategy updating process. In this manner we show that the absence of network reciprocity is a general feature of the dynamics (among those we consider) that do not take neighbors' payoffs into account. Our results, together with experimental evidence, hint at how to properly model real people's behavior.
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