A highlight from Prof. Nicholas A. Christakis, Professor of Social and Natural Science and Biomedical Engineering at Yale University


Purpose of social natural signs into medicine and by medical engineering at the university. He directs acumen needs lab at yale. His research is focused. On the social mathematical biological rules governing how social networks form and the social and biological implications so they operate influence thoughts. Feelings and behaviors belkin nicholas. Thank you so much for having me gill. Thanks for doing this so you lot of interesting. Very interesting work Accu lab at yale one eighty. Is you call it. Experiments with face to face network You say a significant amount of attention is devoted to the development of new ways to intervene in social networks of promote public health. This is sort of a topical idia for us right now and i so there was an an experiment that was completed or going on in contours. Yes we have. Two categories of broad categories of experiments. And before i talk about those. I'd like to back up and just give a metaphor for listeners. With most so's most listeners. Probably learned in high school. Chemistry carbon has different. Allah tropes are different forms of carbon. For example you can have graphite pencil lead which is soft and dark or you can have diamond. Which is hard and clear and there too two key. Intellectual ideas their first of all this. The softness and darkness and hardness and clearness are not properties of the carbon atoms their properties of the collection of carbon atoms and second which properties. You get depends on how you can the carbon atoms to each other. You connect them one way and you get one set of properties take the same carbon atoms and connect them another way and you get a completely different set of properties. And it's the same with human groups you can take a group of people and you can structure the topology of their social network ties. The architecture of the ties you structure those ties one way and that group of people might be happy healthy cooperative and innovative. We take the same human beings and the and you reconnect them in a different way. And they are unhappy. Unhealthy uncooperative and uninnovative. We can think of these properties as emergent properties of the system. that how the parts are connected. So this is how the whole comes to be greater than the sum of its parts so in my laboratory of the things that we do. Is we do experiments with this idea. And in two broad categories one category is a category of experiments. We do online. And we've written some software called bread board and there's a little video about it at bread. Board dot yale dot. Edu and this software allows us to create temporary artificial societies of real people. A tens of thousands of humans have been participants in our experiments are the software's integrated with amazon mechanical turk and we can recruit thousands of people from that medium or other media and drop them into these temporary artificial societies that we create and we drop them into a society in which we organize the connections one way or for instance into a society in which we organize the connections a different way and then we can see what happens and experimentally create artificial societies in and do experiments with with thousands of people and hundreds of groups or for instance in. We had a paper. We've had quite a few papers on this. We had a paper in two thousand seventeen in the journal nature. Using this technology we also had another paper in the previous year in the journal. Nature looking at Inequality where we we randomly assign people to societies with. Different amounts of economic inequality. So if people real money to play with but we experimentally manipulated how unequally that money was distributed and the structure of the networks into which they were dropped and we explored how that inequality affected the ability of the group to work together for example. So that's one category of its of he's say then you say you draw people it. I'm talking about the red box Product when you draw people into it these people they're getting some Some sort of questions or something From from the system and responding to how do you get the nasdaq. Make it so. The people are dropped into a network for example given a little bit of money to play with and they're introduced to their neighbors. There's they would say you you have people c. and d. Are your neighbors. And i have have cd. Ian f is my neighbors and someone else has has you and me and f and g as his neighbors and so on so we only can see the people with whom were directly interacting but were part of a larger network and the scientists that is to say me and my team can engineer. These interactions in very particular ways for example. I might put you in a situation in which you have four connections but unbeknownst to you all four of your connections are connected to each other. And i might put someone else into a group in which they also have four connections but none of their connections are connected to each other and so now the question is how does your experience versus the other. Person's experience vary according to whether the people to whom you are connected. Our intern connected to each other. This is known as the transit of network so we can experimentally manipulate how much transitive there isn't a network and then test how it affects the ability of groups for example to to perform collective actions. We might give the group a challenge to to solve a problem for instance. So so that's what we mean. So we we we.

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