Thursday, February 21, 2013

"Multi-Stage Complex Contagions"

I just blogged about my new paper on billiards, which just got published in final form today in Chaos. Well, the very next article in the journal, which was (unsurprisingly, given these statements) also published today, is my new paper on modelling social influence. Here are the details for that paper.

Title: Multi-Stage Complex Contagions

Authors: Sergey Melnik, Jonathan A. Ward, James P. Gleeson, and Mason A. Porter

Abstract: The spread of ideas across a social network can be studied using complex contagion models, in which agents are activated by contact with multiple activated neighbors. The investigation of complex contagions can provide crucial insights into social influence and behavior-adoption cascades on networks. In this paper, we introduce a model of a multi-stage complex contagion on networks. Agents at different stages --- which could, for example, represent differing levels of support for a social movement or differing levels of commitment to a certain product or idea --- exert different amounts of influence on their neighbors. We demonstrate that the presence of even one additional stage introduces novel dynamical behavior, including interplay between multiple cascades, which cannot occur in single-stage contagion models. We find that cascades—and hence collective action—can be driven not only by high-stage influencers but also by low-stage influencers.

Fun Fact: This might be the first published mathematics paper that uses the word "hipster". You should click on the link and see how we use it. :)

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