The accuracy of small world chains in social networks

Killworth, Peter D.; McCarty, Christopher; Bernard, H. Russell; House, Mark. 2006 The accuracy of small world chains in social networks. Social Networks, 28 (1). 85-96.

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We analyse 10,920 shortest path connections between 105 members of an interviewing bureau, together with the equivalent conceptual, or ‘small world’ routes, which use individuals’ selections of intermediaries. This permits the first study of the impact of accuracy within small world chains. The mean small world path length (3.23) is 40% longer than the mean of the actual shortest paths (2.30), showing that mistakes are prevalent. A Markov model with a probability of simply guessing an intermediary of 0.52 gives an excellent fit to the observations, suggesting that people make the wrong small world choice more than half the time.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 03788733
Additional Keywords: Small world chains; Social networks; Markov model
Date made live: 04 Dec 2012 14:49 +0 (UTC)

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