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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Social Networks Promote Cooperation, Discourage Selfishness, So Nice Guys Can Finish First

 

 

This image is an example of a blocking cluster...

Image via Wikipedia. This Image Is An Example Of A Blocking Cluster In A Social Network.

From the 16 November 2011 Medical News Today article

It turns out nice guys can finish first, and David Rand has the evidence to prove it.

Rand, a post-doctoral fellow in Harvard’s Department of Psychology and a Lecturer in Human Evolutionary Biology, is the lead author of a new paper, which found that dynamic, complex social networks encourage their members to be friendlier and more cooperative, with the possible payoff coming in an expanded social sphere, while selfish behavior can lead to an individual being shunned from the group and left – literally on their own.

As described this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the research is among the first such studies to examine social interaction as a fluid, ever-changing process. Previous studies of complex social networks largely used static snapshots of the groups to examine how members were or were not connected. This new approach, Rand said, is the closest scientists have yet come to describing the way the planet’s 6 billion inhabitants interact on a daily basis.

“What we are showing is the importance of the dynamic, flexible nature of real-world social networks,” Rand said. “Social networks are always shifting, and they’re not shifting in random ways. …..

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November 16, 2011 - Posted by | Health News Items, Medical and Health Research News, Psychology | , , , , , ,

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