The 'friendship paradox' doesn't always explain real friendships, mathematicians say
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The paradox states that, on average, your friends are more popular than you are.
Sociologist Scott Feld first explained the friendship paradox in 1991 in the article "Why Your Friends Have More Friends Than You Do." He observed that most people have fewer friends than their friends have, on average.
Lead author George Cantwell says averages are often highly misleading. Some people are less popular than their friends. Others are more so.
Cantwell and his colleagues developed a new mathematical equation to help researchers understand the paradox of friendship in real-world social networks. They based their equation on two assumptions:
Their new equations could explain 95% of the variance.
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