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Surprising Science

Social Networks Determine Health

“People are more likely to acquire new health practices while living in networks with dense clusters of connections—that is, when in close contact with people they already know well.”

“Scientists have long thought that social networks featuring many distant connections, or ‘long ties’—where individuals know a lot of people, but not well—produce large-scale changes most quickly. But in a new study, Damon Centola, an assistant professor of system dynamics and economic sociology at the MIT Sloan School of Management, has reached a different conclusion: People are more likely to acquire new health practices while living in networks with dense clusters of connections—that is, when in close contact with people they already know well.”


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