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What Do We Learn from Our Networks?

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https://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/what-do-we-learn-from-networks

insights.som.yale.edu

What Do We Learn from Our Networks?
In his lab at Yale, Nicholas A. Christakis investigates the biological origins of our social networks, the web of relationships that we form with family, friends, co-workers, and others. He talked to Yale Insights about how ideas and behaviors spread through networks, and how leaders can shape networks to make their organizations happier and more effective.

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A network is more than just a group of individuals

A network is more than just a group of individuals

In addition, a network has ties between people.

The connections between individuals are what changes a group to a network.

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Social networks have a strong effect on our ideas

You may think it was your idea to keep your desk neat or speak up in a meeting, but your behavior was likely influenced by those in your network.

Once we understand social network...

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We naturally copy others

Your experiences in the world is not only a product of your own desires, actions, and thoughts, but also a product of the desires, actions, and thoughts of people around you.

...

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How people connect makes a difference

Studies have shown that you can take a group of people and connect them one way, and they'll be happy, cooperative, and innovative. You can take the same people and join them another way, w...

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Identifying influential people

To identify influential people, you need to define the kinds of interactions you're interested in.

For example, you might ask people about many different sorts of t...

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Online and offline networks

There are four ways in which online networks differ from offline networks.

  • Scale: It is possible to interact with a huge number of other individuals online.

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How inequality affects networks

People generally don't think inequality is good, but they may think it is unavoidable. Other people believe inequality can be quite corrosive and negatively affect the health of a commu...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Homo Narrativus

Homo Narrativus

We, humans, seek stories.

We are essentially ‘story finders’ looking for meaning, narrative and shape in everything around us. We tend to not believe in improbable...

Bias Towards The Individual

Stories built around individuals provide relatability and a sense of being in the shoes of the people involved, living in the narrative.

Our tendency to give a ‘face’ and a story to a group or collection of people made us invent a dominant leader of the group, like the President, or the Team Captain, or the Monarch.

How Fame Alters Our Perceptions

  • The popularity or fame of an individual or a piece of art (like a painting, song or a movie) alters how we perceive it.
  • The characteristics and behaviour of the people among whom fame spreads matters more than the actual merit or quality.
  • A study showed that more people liked the songs that were topping the charts, copying the behaviour of other listeners, and if the same songs were arranged randomly, they were not chosen or liked that much.

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Social structure

Social structure

Social structure is the organized set of social institutions and patterns of institutionalized relationships that together make up a society.

Social structures are not immediately vis...

The Macro Level of Society

The major social institutions include family, religion, education, media, law, politics, and economy. These are separate institutions that are interrelated and interdependent. Together they form the overarching social structure of a society.

There usually is a hierarchy to these relationships, which results in a power differential. The organization and operation of these social institutions result in other aspects of social structure, including socio-economic stratification.

The Meso Level

The meso level can be seen in the social networks that are organized by social institutions and institutionalized social relationships.

Our social networks also show up in social stratification, where relations are structured by class differences, differences in educational attainment, and differences in levels of wealth. In turn, it may shape the kinds of opportunities available and foster behavioral norms that determine the direction of our lives.

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General McChrystal
"The wisest decisions are made by those closest to the problem — regardless of their seniority,”

General McChrystal

Trust and common purpose are 🗝️

Leadership must first trust that employees understand the organization's context and goals enough to make decisions on their own. 

Shared consciousness.

To get to a point where you trust almost anyone to make decisions on their own because you believe they have the same information and objectives you do.

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Network Effects

Network effects are the unseen forces that are guiding our destiny and exerting a powerful intervention on our lives, creating energy that escorts us down a path that is not always fully our intent...

Zipf's Law

Zipf's law is a mathematical probability that states that in a given set, the most frequently used data value (or word) is used twice as often as the next most common value. This is true in various statistical sets like income distribution in companies, internet traffic, phone calls received, and language.

One of the implications of this law is there are unconscious network forces and mathematical patterns governing our lives, with human beings just being nodes exchanging information.

Dinner Party Mathematics

When six to eight people are conversing at a dinner party, it is easy to focus on one conversation, but if the number is higher (say 15), then two-way conversations are more likely.

When groups get larger, the change is exponential, not linear, affecting one's social experience.

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About Consciousness

About Consciousness

Consciousness is everything you experience - taste, pain, love, feeling. Where these experiences come from is a mystery.

Many modern analytic philosophers of mind either d...

Searching For Physical Footprints

What is it about brain matter that gives rise to consciousness? In particular, the neuronal correlates of consciousness (NCC) - the minimal neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any conscious experience.

Consider this question: What must happen in your brain for you to experience a toothache?

Neuronal Correlates of Consciousness (NCC)

The whole brain can be considered an NCC because it generates experience continually.

  • When parts of the cerebellum, the "little brain" underneath the back of the brain, are lost to a stroke or otherwise, patients may lose the ability to play the piano, for example.  But they never lose any aspect of their consciousness. This is because the cerebellum is almost wholly a feed-forward circuit. There are no complex feedback loops.
  • The spinal cord and the cerebellum are not enough to create consciousness. Available evidence suggests neocortical tissue in generating feelings.
  • The next stages of processing are the broad set of cortical regions, collectively known as the posterior hot zone, that gives rise to conscious perception. In clinical sources of causal evidence, stimulating the posterior hot zone can trigger a diversity of distinct sensations and feelings.
  • It appears that almost all conscious experiences have their origin in the posterior cortex. But it does not explain the crucial difference between the posterior regions and much of the prefrontal cortex, which does not directly contribute to subjective content.

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Languages

Scientists have few clear answers about what caused the start of thousands of languages.

Collectively, people speak more than 7,000 distinct languages, with more languages spoken in tropi...

Language creates boundaries

There are many theories of how the world's languages might have diversified. The common thread is that languages are markers of social boundaries between human groups. People with a common language share a common means of communication.

Any factor that might create or weaken the social or physical barriers between groups may also influence the start or end of languages.

Factors that influence language diversity

One research group tried to understand which factors had the most influence of language diversity in different areas, using statistical techniques that combined ideas from linguists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and geographers.

They found that the most important variables associated with language diversity varied from one part to another. There is not one single factor that can explain patterns of language diversity everywhere.

Enhance your Relationships

  • Give your undivided attention. Put away the cell phone, set aside your task list and quiet your internal monologue.
  • Check your personal agenda at the door. Resist the urg...

Prejudice is inside us all

Prejudice is inside us all

Prejudice stems in part from cultural learning, our parents, our schools, and social messages in the media. Prejudice is also deeply embedded in our thought networks.

The good news is that ...

Negative stereotypes are lodged in our cognitive network

They pop up to do mischief, even when you're not conscious of it.

We can learn to recognize bias in ourselves and reduce the harmful impact of that part of ourselves by applying acceptance and commitment therapy. It focuses on developing psychological flexibility. When we investigate our implicit biases, we become more aware of them and can bring our actions in line with our conscious beliefs.

Authoritarian distancing

All forms of prejudice can be explained by what’s called authoritarian distancing - the belief that we are different from some group. Because they are different, they represent a threat we need to control.

When people adopt authoritarian distancing, they display three characteristics:

  • The inability to take the perspective of other people.
  • The inability to feel the pain of other people when you take their perspective.
  • The inability to be emotionally open to the pain of others when you do feel it.

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Happy people vs. miserable people

Happy people engage in more happiness-boosting habits while unhappy people engage in more misery-inducing habits. 

You can choose which habits to cultivate in your life. If ...

Happy People Experience Flow Often

Flow is a state of complete absorption and full involvement in the present moment. 

It is marked by intense concentration, a sense of timelessness, and a loss of self-consciousness. It’s a deeply healing and enjoyable state and one that greatly contributes to our happiness.

Activities of happy people

  • They meditate.
  • They exercise regularly. “Surveys show that exercise may very well be the most effective instant happiness booster of all activities.”
  • They stop and smell the roses. 
  • They spend time with their furry friends.
  • They spend time outside.

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