Social Influence Network Theory

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 - 11:50am


Wednesday, April 6, 2011
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Computer Science Conference Room, Harold Frank Hall Rm. 1132

HOST: Ambuj Singh

SPEAKER: Noah E. Friedkin
Professor, Department of Sociology, UCSB

Title: Social Influence Network Theory


Social influence network theory presents a discrete time process of
interpersonal influence unfolding in a network that is a generalization
of the influence process specified by Degroot, Harary and French. The
theory also has foundations in cognitive science, specifically,
Anderson’s information integration theory, in which a “cognitive
algebra” of weighted averaging is taken as the basis of individuals’
synthesis of heterogeneous units of information. As work on the theory
has progressed, the theoretical importance of individuals’ self-weights,
i.e., the main diagonal of the weight matrix W, which appears in these
models, has grown. Social influence network theory has been subjected to
empirical scrutiny with small groups assembled under experimental
conditions and in field settings. The theory is not scope restricted to
small groups. The talk will concentrate on the formal features of the
theory’s standard model and, if time permits, present a playful
application of it triggered by a conversation that I had with Stacy


Noah Friedkin received his B.A. (1969) and Ph.D. (1977) from The
University of Chicago. His research has concentrated on social networks,
and the processes of information and influence flows that unfold in
social networks. His recent publications include a book co-authored with
Eugene Johnsen, Social Influence Network Theory: A Sociological
Investigation of Small Group Dynamics, forthcoming in Cambridge
University Press, a paper “A formal theory of reflected appraisals in
the evolution of power” forthcoming in Administrative Science Quarterly,
and a paper “Spine segments in small world networks” published in Social
Networks (2011).