You copy the people to whom you are connected primarily and you come to copy them along a whole variety of traits.
One of the things that we have found in the study of networks is that whenever people are free to choose anything they want they usually choose what their friends have chosen and people tend to copy each other. This sort of fundamental mimicry or this mimicry that we humans evince is extremely fundamental and therefore, networks provide us a kind of mathematical, social and biological tool to understand the kind of fundamental basis for this mimicry because you copy the people to whom you are connected primarily and you come to copy them along a whole variety of traits.
When people are free to choose anything they want, they usually choose what their friends have chosen, says internist and sociologist Nicholas Christakis. Mimicry is a fundamental part of human experience. Here's why.
It turns out we’re not the only species that assembles ourselves into networks, says sociologist Nicholas Christakis. Consider the slime mold.
Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., is an internist and social scientist who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity. He is a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Medical Sociology in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School; and Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Christakis' current work is principally concerned with health and social networks, and specifically with how ill health, disability, health behavior, health care, and death in one person can influence the same phenomena in a person's social network. Most recently, Dr. Christakis has been exploring the joint genetic and socio-environmental determinants of the formation and operation of human social networks. His 2009 book, co-authored with James H. Fowler and published by Little, Brown and Company, is called "Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives."
Follow him on Twitter @NAChristakis