Raffaella Burioni is Associate Professor of Theoretical Physics of Matter at the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science at the University of Parma. Her research is focused on Statistical Physics, Complex Systems and Networks Theory. She is particularly interested in interdisciplinary applications of Statistical Physics to Social Sciences and Biology.
Università di Parma
Old and new ties in Social Networks Evolution: novelty exploration in human interactions
Individuals invest heterogeneously in the maintenance and development of their social interactions. According to diverse strategies, they show different propensity to be active, and they may allocate their social links in different ways, either by favouring the strengthening of a limited number of strong old ties or by the exploration of new weak ties, opening access to new information, new people and communities. We propose and solve a dynamic network model with a rule of links formation that explicitly takes into account heterogeneity in social activity and the exploration of new ties. In particular, we propose a general functional form for the social allocation mechanism, able to fit empirical observations on several dataset. Starting from a generalized version of the Polya’s urn, we develop a dynamical model of network evolution and formulate a mechanism, based on the “adjacent-possible” theory, able to catch the many features observed in real growth of the individual’s set of social contacts. We then show how our approach can be tuned to reproduce different paradigmatic real-world networks and to describe novelty exploration in different kind of human interactions.