Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks

Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks

For me, this story begins about 15 years ago, when I was a hospice doctor at the University of Chicago. And I was taking care of people who were dying and their families in the South Side of Chicago. And I was observing what happened to people and their families over the course of their terminal illness. And in my lab, I was studying the widower effect, which is a very old idea in the social sciences, going back 150 years, known as “dying of a broken heart.” So, when I die, my wife’s risk of death can double, for instance, in the first year. And I had gone to take care of one particular patient, a woman who was dying of dementia. And in this case, unlike this couple, she was being cared for by her daughter. And the daughter was exhausted from caring for her mother. And the daughter’s husband, he also was sick from his wife’s exhaustion. And I was driving home one day, and I get a phone call from the husband’s friend, calling me because he was depressed about what was happening to his friend. So here I get this call from this random guy that’s having an experience that’s being influenced by people at some social distance. And so I suddenly realized two very simple things: First, the widowhood effect was not restricted to husbands and wives. And second, it was not restricted to pairs of people. And I started to see the world in a whole new way, like pairs of people connected to each other. And then I realized that these individuals would be connected into foursomes with other pairs of people nearby. And then, in fact, these people were embedded in other sorts of relationships: marriage and spousal and friendship and other sorts of ties. And that, in fact, these connections were vast and that we were all embedded in this broad set of connections with each other. So I started to see the world in a completely new way and I became obsessed with this. I became obsessed with how it might be that we’re embedded in these social networks, and how they affect our lives. So, social networks are these intricate things of beauty, and they’re so elaborate and so complex and so ubiquitous, in fact, that one has to ask what purpose they serve. Why are we embedded in social networks? I mean, how do they form? How do they operate? And how do they effect us? So my first topic with respect to this, was not death, but obesity. It had become trendy to speak about the “obesity epidemic.” And, along with my collaborator, James Fowler, we began to wonder whether obesity really was epidemic and could it spread from person to person like the four people I discussed earlier. So this is a slide of some of our initial results. It’s 2,200 people in the year 2000. Every dot is a person. We make the dot size proportional to people’s body size; so bigger dots are bigger people. In addition, if your body size, if your BMI, your body mass index, is above 30 — if you’re clinically obese — we also colored the dots yellow. So, if you look at this image, right away you might be able to see that there are clusters of obese and non-obese people in the image. But the visual complexity is still very high. It’s not obvious exactly what’s going on. In addition, some questions are immediately raised: How much clustering is there? Is there more clustering than would be due to chance alone? How big are the clusters? How far do they reach? And, most importantly, what causes the clusters? So we did some mathematics to study the size of these clusters. This here shows, on the Y-axis, the increase in the probability that a person is obese given that a social contact of theirs is obese and, on the X-axis, the degrees of separation between the two people. On the far left, you see the purple line. It says that, if your friends are obese, your risk of obesity is 45 percent higher. And the next bar over, the [red] line, says if your friend’s friends are obese, your risk of obesity is 25 percent higher. And then the next line over says if your friend’s friend’s friend, someone you probably don’t even know, is obese, your risk of obesity is 10 percent higher. And it’s only when you get to your friend’s friend’s friend’s friends that there’s no longer a relationship between that person’s body size and your own body size. Well, what might be causing this clustering? There are at least three possibilities: One possibility is that, as I gain weight, it causes you to gain weight. A kind of induction, a kind of spread from person to person. Another possibility, very obvious, is homophily, or, birds of a feather flock together; here, I form my tie to you because you and I share a similar body size. And the last possibility is what is known as confounding, because it confounds our ability to figure out what’s going on. And here, the idea is not that my weight gain is causing your weight gain, nor that I preferentially form a tie with you because you and I share the same body size, but rather that we share a common exposure to something, like a health club that makes us both lose weight at the same time. When we studied these data, we found evidence for all of these things, including for induction. And we found that if your friend becomes obese, it increases your risk of obesity by about 57 percent in the same given time period. There can be many mechanisms for this effect: One possibility is that your friends say to you something like — you know, they adopt a behavior that spreads to you — like, they say, “Let’s go have muffins and beer,” which is a terrible combination. (Laughter) But you adopt that combination, and then you start gaining weight like them. Another more subtle possibility is that they start gaining weight, and it changes your ideas of what an acceptable body size is. Here, what’s spreading from person to person is not a behavior, but rather a norm: An idea is spreading. Now, headline writers had a field day with our studies. I think the headline in The New York Times was, “Are you packing it on? Blame your fat friends.” (Laughter) What was interesting to us is that the European headline writers had a different take: They said, “Are your friends gaining weight? Perhaps you are to blame.” (Laughter) And we thought this was a very interesting comment on America, and a kind of self-serving, “not my responsibility” kind of phenomenon. Now, I want to be very clear: We do not think our work should or could justify prejudice against people of one or another body size at all. Our next questions was: Could we actually visualize this spread? Was weight gain in one person actually spreading to weight gain in another person? And this was complicated because we needed to take into account the fact that the network structure, the architecture of the ties, was changing across time. In addition, because obesity is not a unicentric epidemic, there’s not a Patient Zero of the obesity epidemic — if we find that guy, there was a spread of obesity out from him — it’s a multicentric epidemic. Lots of people are doing things at the same time. And I’m about to show you a 30 second video animation that took me and James five years of our lives to do. So, again, every dot is a person. Every tie between them is a relationship. We’re going to put this into motion now, taking daily cuts through the network for about 30 years. The dot sizes are going to grow, you’re going to see a sea of yellow take over. You’re going to see people be born and die — dots will appear and disappear — ties will form and break, marriages and divorces, friendings and defriendings. A lot of complexity, a lot is happening just in this 30-year period that includes the obesity epidemic. And, by the end, you’re going to see clusters of obese and non-obese individuals within the network. Now, when looked at this, it changed the way I see things, because this thing, this network that’s changing across time, it has a memory, it moves, things flow within it, it has a kind of consistency — people can die, but it doesn’t die; it still persists — and it has a kind of resilience that allows it to persist across time. And so, I came to see these kinds of social networks as living things, as living things that we could put under a kind of microscope to study and analyze and understand. And we used a variety of techniques to do this. And we started exploring all kinds of other phenomena. We looked at smoking and drinking behavior, and voting behavior, and divorce — which can spread — and altruism. And, eventually, we became interested in emotions. Now, when we have emotions, we show them. Why do we show our emotions? I mean, there would be an advantage to experiencing our emotions inside, you know, anger or happiness. But we don’t just experience them, we show them. And not only do we show them, but others can read them. And, not only can they read them, but they copy them. There’s emotional contagion that takes place in human populations. And so this function of emotions suggests that, in addition to any other purpose they serve, they’re a kind of primitive form of communication. And that, in fact, if we really want to understand human emotions, we need to think about them in this way. Now, we’re accustomed to thinking about emotions in this way, in simple, sort of, brief periods of time. So, for example, I was giving this talk recently in New York City, and I said, “You know when you’re on the subway and the other person across the subway car smiles at you, and you just instinctively smile back?” And they looked at me and said, “We don’t do that in New York City.” (Laughter) And I said, “Everywhere else in the world, that’s normal human behavior.” And so there’s a very instinctive way in which we briefly transmit emotions to each other. And, in fact, emotional contagion can be broader still. Like we could have punctuated expressions of anger, as in riots. The question that we wanted to ask was: Could emotion spread, in a more sustained way than riots, across time and involve large numbers of people, not just this pair of individuals smiling at each other in the subway car? Maybe there’s a kind of below the surface, quiet riot that animates us all the time. Maybe there are emotional stampedes that ripple through social networks. Maybe, in fact, emotions have a collective existence, not just an individual existence. And this is one of the first images we made to study this phenomenon. Again, a social network, but now we color the people yellow if they’re happy and blue if they’re sad and green in between. And if you look at this image, you can right away see clusters of happy and unhappy people, again, spreading to three degrees of separation. And you might form the intuition that the unhappy people occupy a different structural location within the network. There’s a middle and an edge to this network, and the unhappy people seem to be located at the edges. So to invoke another metaphor, if you imagine social networks as a kind of vast fabric of humanity — I’m connected to you and you to her, on out endlessly into the distance — this fabric is actually like an old-fashioned American quilt, and it has patches on it: happy and unhappy patches. And whether you become happy or not depends in part on whether you occupy a happy patch. (Laughter) So, this work with emotions, which are so fundamental, then got us to thinking about: Maybe the fundamental causes of human social networks are somehow encoded in our genes. Because human social networks, whenever they are mapped, always kind of look like this: the picture of the network. But they never look like this. Why do they not look like this? Why don’t we form human social networks that look like a regular lattice? Well, the striking patterns of human social networks, their ubiquity and their apparent purpose beg questions about whether we evolved to have human social networks in the first place, and whether we evolved to form networks with a particular structure. And notice first of all — so, to understand this, though, we need to dissect network structure a little bit first — and notice that every person in this network has exactly the same structural location as every other person. But that’s not the case with real networks. So, for example, here is a real network of college students at an elite northeastern university. And now I’m highlighting a few dots. If you look here at the dots, compare node B in the upper left to node D in the far right; B has four friends coming out from him and D has six friends coming out from him. And so, those two individuals have different numbers of friends. That’s very obvious, we all know that. But certain other aspects of social network structure are not so obvious. Compare node B in the upper left to node A in the lower left. Now, those people both have four friends, but A’s friends all know each other, and B’s friends do not. So the friend of a friend of A’s is, back again, a friend of A’s, whereas the friend of a friend of B’s is not a friend of B’s, but is farther away in the network. This is known as transitivity in networks. And, finally, compare nodes C and D: C and D both have six friends. If you talk to them, and you said, “What is your social life like?” they would say, “I’ve got six friends. That’s my social experience.” But now we, with a bird’s eye view looking at this network, can see that they occupy very different social worlds. And I can cultivate that intuition in you by just asking you: Who would you rather be if a deadly germ was spreading through the network? Would you rather be C or D? You’d rather be D, on the edge of the network. And now who would you rather be if a juicy piece of gossip — not about you — was spreading through the network? (Laughter) Now, you would rather be C. So different structural locations have different implications for your life. And, in fact, when we did some experiments looking at this, what we found is that 46 percent of the variation in how many friends you have is explained by your genes. And this is not surprising. We know that some people are born shy and some are born gregarious. That’s obvious. But we also found some non-obvious things. For instance, 47 percent in the variation in whether your friends know each other is attributable to your genes. Whether your friends know each other has not just to do with their genes, but with yours. And we think the reason for this is that some people like to introduce their friends to each other — you know who you are — and others of you keep them apart and don’t introduce your friends to each other. And so some people knit together the networks around them, creating a kind of dense web of ties in which they’re comfortably embedded. And finally, we even found that 30 percent of the variation in whether or not people are in the middle or on the edge of the network can also be attributed to their genes. So whether you find yourself in the middle or on the edge is also partially heritable. Now, what is the point of this? How does this help us understand? How does this help us figure out some of the problems that are affecting us these days? Well, the argument I’d like to make is that networks have value. They are a kind of social capital. New properties emerge because of our embeddedness in social networks, and these properties inhere in the structure of the networks, not just in the individuals within them. So think about these two common objects. They’re both made of carbon, and yet one of them has carbon atoms in it that are arranged in one particular way — on the left — and you get graphite, which is soft and dark. But if you take the same carbon atoms and interconnect them a different way, you get diamond, which is clear and hard. And those properties of softness and hardness and darkness and clearness do not reside in the carbon atoms; they reside in the interconnections between the carbon atoms, or at least arise because of the interconnections between the carbon atoms. So, similarly, the pattern of connections among people confers upon the groups of people different properties. It is the ties between people that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. And so it is not just what’s happening to these people — whether they’re losing weight or gaining weight, or becoming rich or becoming poor, or becoming happy or not becoming happy — that affects us; it’s also the actual architecture of the ties around us. Our experience of the world depends on the actual structure of the networks in which we’re residing and on all the kinds of things that ripple and flow through the network. Now, the reason, I think, that this is the case is that human beings assemble themselves and form a kind of superorganism. Now, a superorganism is a collection of individuals which show or evince behaviors or phenomena that are not reducible to the study of individuals and that must be understood by reference to, and by studying, the collective. Like, for example, a hive of bees that’s finding a new nesting site, or a flock of birds that’s evading a predator, or a flock of birds that’s able to pool its wisdom and navigate and find a tiny speck of an island in the middle of the Pacific, or a pack of wolves that’s able to bring down larger prey. Superorganisms have properties that cannot be understood just by studying the individuals. I think understanding social networks and how they form and operate can help us understand not just health and emotions but all kinds of other phenomena — like crime, and warfare, and economic phenomena like bank runs and market crashes and the adoption of innovation and the spread of product adoption. Now, look at this. I think we form social networks because the benefits of a connected life outweigh the costs. If I was always violent towards you or gave you misinformation or made you sad or infected you with deadly germs, you would cut the ties to me, and the network would disintegrate. So the spread of good and valuable things is required to sustain and nourish social networks. Similarly, social networks are required for the spread of good and valuable things, like love and kindness and happiness and altruism and ideas. I think, in fact, that if we realized how valuable social networks are, we’d spend a lot more time nourishing them and sustaining them, because I think social networks are fundamentally related to goodness. And what I think the world needs now is more connections. Thank you. (Applause)


  • Asaf Aqua says:

    what is it with this guy? or worse what's is it with the audience not standing up and leaving. Its all about the bucks. People with money hang out with people with money. That's it.

  • Andrew Hampshire says:

    That time limit that they're bound to sucks. I would always like to hear more from these ppl and it looks like they're willing to tell more, but due to the time constraints, wrap it up in a hurry.

  • Andrew Hampshire says:

    @ponygutz I literally just had that yesterday and the day before lol. I got a good laugh when he said that

  • shilohwillcome says:

    This whole thing thing seems like bullshit. Although i hold to his conclusions he can't seem to justify them, the closest he gets is by odd analogies. But analogies don't justify.

  • shilohwillcome says:

    @vraciudude going to make a shirt, facebook is to life as masturbating is to sex.

  • shilohwillcome says:

    @pimpolinka69 or without thinking.

  • michalchik says:

    This guy is doing interesting work, but he thinks categorically,not mechanistically or creatively and is not that insightful. He must be an MD.

  • michalchik says:

    @kickit246 I wish there were question and answer periods,

  • Trevor Harris says:

    excellent video! great speech. the world does need more connections, and unless some global catastrophe happens, global interconnection will inevitably proceed.

  • DoNAKA420 says:

    @mohamino i believe the poet's name is jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī 😀

  • Kevin Colmer says:

    The strength of each connection I feel is something that was not covered in these models and in this methodology. I feel this is essentially important.

  • alSation81 says:

    @mohamino thats really nice; do you know the name of the poet?

  • Morningv0dka says:

    I've always regarded fat people with a degree of contempt

  • Todd Foster says:

    Very insightful…love it. It kind of relates to what Dr. Wayne Dyer says about people and their relationships with others…viewing oneself as part of a whole…or "higher network" if you will.

  • Todd Foster says:

    Very insightful…love it. It kind of relates to what Dr. Wayne Dyer says about people and their relationships with others…viewing oneself as part of a whole…or "higher network" if you will.

  • Cannibalzz says:

    This guy's right. More social connections are a good thing. I saw a study that said people with more close friends live longer and happier. I used to live in the US and its difficult to meet people there: people look at you like you're crazy if you dont know them and start talking to them. I live in Europe now and its a lot easier to make new friends here.

  • cryptoprocta says:

    ha ha, everything you do affects others, so how can we not be connected?

  • robotpanda77 says:

    So when I get a boner, do all my friends get proxy boners?

  • Javier Rincón says:

    great conclusions, I thought it was going to be some bs talk about social networks on the internet, but was very surprised. good stuff

  • roidroid says:


  • roidroid says:

    @robotpanda77 depends what kinda friends they are

  • IVIIiIIVI says:

    @Invaishir : omarly666 He does have a point though.

    I'd disagree that aggression and violence cuts ties especially where politics, religion and business are involved but I'm not trying to twist his words. You could replace the word "obesity" with any word, say "bigot", and the results, I reckon, would be very similar. His argument is positive if not a bit simplistic. Maybe he should have had more time. He seems a bit rushed.

  • IVIIiIIVI says:

    @bavwill He's right though in one sense about getting connected. It creates more options, helps to expand people's awareness of things and softens some people's fear of different lifestyles.

  • Social Justice Warrior says:

    @Ikar1 and if you see a clown on the street? like an art or acting student? It is supposed that there are some mirror-neurons (neuronas espejo) that throw the smile like a reflex.

  • dryan22 says:

    The intensity with which he speaks works against comprehension.

  • Mads Herskind says:

    @vraciudude Take into account, the use of electronic communication, especially the use of texting as a substitute for personal interaction. The use of emoticons suddenly serves as a direct link to our emotions and how we feel about certain situations. It is as if we have neglected the need of personal communication and found a way to replace it by electronic communication. Facebook, texting, twitter, email etc all fall under this.

  • chuckinator13 says:

    instead you have people sqrewing each other over like it was some kind of sport…..10 years and no-one can agree on what to build on the twin towers site….meanwhile Dubai has built a whole City…..i digress

  • chuckinator13 says:

    @Ikar1 It's also natural for us to try to kill each other too. Try smiling. then you won't get bits of bone and brain on you…..

  • chuckinator13 says:

    @cryptoprocta finally something that actually makes sense

  • chuckinator13 says:

    @vraciudude funny, most of the people in my facebook were or still are REAL friends
    in a real life. thats why there is 200 not 2000

  • Dimitri Rytsk says:

    Does it mean that if get fat Facebook friends you will get fat too?
    How about other diseases and addictions? Do they spread by text messages?
    How positive qualitys spread relatively to negative?

  • Social Justice Warrior says:

    @Ikar1 perhaps the barrier of feeling personal threaten should be solved before all the mirror neurons enter the game. If you smile in front of a baby it smiles as far as I tested. It detects eyes+your teeth and reflects. There is a video in youtube called "monkey see monkey do" that explains it. If I say in my office, family or friends "I want to tell you something… " while smiling and self interrupting me they do return a smile. Of course that the stress inhibits that.

  • creamypouf8 says:

    Funny how quick people think about Facebook when the talk is about friends.

  • LordSplendid says:

    Bowling alone…

  • Renessa Bak says:

    obesity, 1st Visible sign of the general breakdown of our health. as acid rain had trees die back in the '80's. Trees that lived to 500 years when we first came to this land now are lucky to survive for a hundred years in the city. Most die from a disease, fungus carried by saws and clogged pores. We are as sick as the distance we live from nature's green belts, compounded by the trail of our toxic exhaust
    Like wise I

  • Stargaze says:

    Jeez,.., this guy is a real idiot. he really didn't know this before…LOL.

  • Stargaze says:

    Scream about things I thought everyone allrdy was consious about.

  • thanosAIAS says:

    i agree… it's called memes

  • besionishe says:

    @freshhug actually, there's a difference whether you think you know something, or you made a study and know something to the extent the study covers)

  • Stargaze says:

    Yeah.., you can proove it to others. But in the word "think" as YOU put it here I incorporate having proof for your own self.

  • khatack says:


    You're wrong here. Everyone is connected to the social networks, and everyone will be affected when a phenomenon waves through it.

  • Tsumaru000 says:

    Hence why he mentioned the three ways it could be interpreted, with only one (induction) implying causation. He followed this up by saying there was evidence of each at play, although he didn't go into details.
    People trying to be smart overplay the "Correlation does not imply causation" card to the point where they seem to believe correlation never coincides with causality, which is clearly far from the truth. Don't fall into that trap.

  • Ivy Shoots says:

    A good explanation for why most of the wealth in the US is concentrated in such a tiny percentage of the population.

  • William Buist says:

    This is how true collaborations work, the connection between collaborative groups are fundamentally different to the connections between co-operative groups,

    There's a lot of merit in the argument that what the world needs is more connections, and it definitely needs a more collaborative spirit.

  • John Jones says:

    One would ask if you could identify certain hosts that the world actually revolves around. Then kill them and hopefully the mass of humanity will die. Sigh… one can only wish.

  • Belzedar says:

    I've watched this all the way through and I've just realised he's talking about conformity, a well-documented phenomenon. But because he doesn't participate in communities that do study conformity, the phenomenon is new to him and he's inventing a new model unnecessarily. Inventing terms such as 'confounding' and 'interconnections' cloud comprehension.

  • Cosmin says:

    Is this a commercial for facebook? 🙂

  • Dan says:

    14:50 Leave it to a nerd to use the molecular structure of minerals as an analogy for how the structure of social networking effects the properties of social groups.


  • LarsXI says:

    bread and circuses. thanks for participating

  • dnon75 says:

    18 minutes is a very short amount of time, hes trying to pack a lot in.

  • Bernhard Racz says:

    Interesting, so now we know…I am keeping millions of people happy and positive. How do we create a system where they pay me?

  • Marie says:

    Nikolay Gubenko brought me here

  • Erik Wahlen says:

    nice vid!

  • Aruna Perera says:

    It would be a shame if you did not shed fat when other normal people do it so easily with Fat Blast Blueprint (check it out on Google).

  • Elite Strategies says:

    This is a great TED talk for those in our industry.

  • Ida Paige says:

    Social Networks the new threat to privacy

  • Stephan Schuler says:

    isn't being shy a result of education and influences from outside rather than a result of genes? is it really as obvious as he claims?

  • TheRugbyaddicted says:

    If you read his book ''Connected'' (which I strongly recommend) you will see that all the characteristics that designate someone's personality depend both on the genes that inherits from his parents AND the social network in which he/she lives and acts.

  • Joao Rijo says:

    WAU, this guy just discovered the gunpowder.

  • Christopher Becker says:

    hey everyone! go join yourbubble,co,za

  • Hajrë Hyseni says:

    That's brilliant approach ti

  • turtleINhurry says:

    tsiba ena pitogyro re mlk

  • totallytasteless says:

    Wanna buy a social netowroking site?

  • Viktor Maximilian Distaturus Freiherr says:

    Nicholas Christakis  PLEASE clarify this: this could mean so much that it starts to mean nothing again.

    To make this clear: this is everything else than clear:
    13:28      'explained by our genes'

    1.)genes don't explain we explain by genes.
    2.) 3 INTERPRETATIONS of the sentence at

    A) The behaviour of how I & people whith my set of genes network (transitivity, number, centrality) has a variation. [3 variables which vary in the populatoin of my gene set]

    B) I & people whith my set of genes network ((transitivity, number, centrality)
    over the course of their live with a variation in these behaiours.
    [3 variables which vary over the lifetime]

    C) with around 50% accuracy of all variation cases it is possible to link networking behaviour to the set of genes.

    3.) a) PREMISE & b) FINDINGS are very hard to understand.

    a) the variation has a finite set: this is the 100%
    [A) normal distribution:some gene sets vary in +/-4friends, some in +/-10-25friends]
    [B) normal distribution:gene sets lifetime behaviour varies in +/-4 friends]
    [C) too lazy……

    b) around 50% of this variation is determined by my genes.
    [A) my gene set explains, half the number of my firends if i have a +/- 4 friends variation over my lifetime, so looking at my genes says: +/-2 friends is certain??]
    [B) tooo lazy…. please clarify this….

    This means:
    A) 1) You should be able to observe an 'around 50% difference' in variation of these 3 numbers in every population which has a certain set of genes.
    [some have 4 some 6 friends some 2]
    2) You should be able to observe a clearly solid core of this variable numbers………

    PLEASE clarify this: this could mean so much that it starts zo mean nothing again.

  • Judith Obatusa says:

    Another link from Coursera that has nourished my knowledge base.

  • Anna B says:

    so much yelling 🙁

  • vaibhav kumar says:

    awesome sir

  • adinfinitum000 says:

    Safe-space & trigger warning freaks/fascists/crybullies
    here 's your nemesis

    the great Nicholas Christakis.

  • Kimberlyn Bailey says:

    A credit to the force for Yale. They should work hard to make sure he doesn't resign.

  • Kit says:

    Still up to date!!

  • naomianj15 says:

    Great talk 👍 but he reminds me of Mr. Bean.

  • Roll0112358 says:

    I love his enthusiasm.

  • erozpl01 says:

    Poor guy got the full force of the grown children cry bullies

  • Kuba says:

    Even though obvious, his enthusiasm sparks me. I also have a new LinkedIn header 15:03

  • vicarious014 says:

    But he failed to make a safe space! I thought he was supposed to be a "disgusting" man? LOL

  • nyyankees4296 says:

    i love how that black chick was calling him disgusting in that protest video he's actually done great things

  • Peter Jones says:

    I just saw the Yale video and was completely blown away by the mob of angry snowflakes.
    But I'm far more fascinated that he anticipated and described the phenomena of generation snowflake long before it ever appeared on campuses.
    I also wonder if any of those students will ever reflect back on their behavior and appreciate that their outrage was learned via their social networks.

  • Leighton Julye says:

    As you go through life never loose the good fiends you meetAfter the death of a friend, healing in a human social network

  • T Clark says:

    So they teach this stuff at the 'elite' institutions, along with courses like Sandel's Justice at Harvard, Haidts courses at Columbia, etc…and what comes out the other side is a bunch of twisted little fucksticks who not only cant/dont/wont comprehend these insights, but actually are so maligned as to get someone like Kristakis fired. It might be the end of W Civ we are witnessing: the media (propaganda tool), academic institutions, and political machines are all complicit. What do we do?

  • kapresovsk says:

    nice, enthusiastic. as to why humans don't form networks in a shape of perfect grid: it's because the gird is a perfect creation of a designer who supervises everything and builds a grid while humans and all living creatures are down there, they see only their closest environment and just do what they can to create at least some vital bonds. our 'software' has to operate on individual level without supervision of a scientist or an engineer. the fact, that it works so well seems miraculous and righteously invokes an idea of an architect to many people … second reason is that bonds forming 'software' in humans is intended to create hierarchy, not egalitarian uniform network. why? because hierarchy is more effective in a small group. good hierarchy means that a group joyfully executes a will of their leader. democracy is only very recent invention and requires individual responsibility … which is still very scarce …

  • llever says:

    Networks are too large

  • Skyler Anderson says:

    Correlation? Causation? What are these things?

  • Default_Shadow says:

    hope more people watch this in the future and come back to appreciating friendships more…

  • daddyleon says:

    Apparently Sam Harris was in the audience, did someone spot him???

  • MetalAteMySoul says:

    Is this the idiot who came up and said we shouldn't dress up as cowboys and Indians on Halloween because it's not socially acceptable?
    This uber idiocy was spelled out by this SOCIOLOGY professor in Yale.

  • End Well: Design for the End of Life Experience says:


  • Joram Arentved says:

    C. tal &, qué no esté perfecto, Cristián, estoy feliz c. tu buena recepción de mi relev. recado, que tú & Pedro si por favor puedan intentar sacarme de aquí, esta casa c., qué laboralm. no cuento, Pje. Panguipulli 0643, 8020804 Com.: El Bosque, mi fono, 096 505 67 01, tal vez c. menos que poner, (96), así pueda ver – etc., Paz, Joram, danés guardia func. etc. Desde qué mi laboralfuturo pende de inmerecido hilo, es mi conxxxdanésmadre mi laboralconflicto, que, sin emb. & nunca me da mi menor saber sug. de, si pueda contar c., qué su tenacidadburraparanoialibertad sean MIS laboralerror & conflicto

  • Joanne Rivera Lopez says:

    tremendo importante conocer personalmente el discrimen de odio de personas elitistas con acceso a dinero en Puerto Rico lo hemos sufrido y nuestros hermanos Latinos por los Latinos en negación de Estados Unidos que era Nueva España en 1785 incluyendo partes de Alaska y Canada hoy ups tienen sagre Española . Les dejo Links de inmigraciones por ejemplo la Alemana que comenzo en la Isla antes inclusive que Estados Unidos invadiera en 1898;

  • Mathew Hatch says:

    WHO would employ these CHILDREN?…

  • pasha6a says:

    And this is the professor along with his wife (another professor) that was forced to leave their jobs because they came up with the idea of students policing themselves when it came to choosing halloween costumes.

  • ButtholeLazer says:

    R I P

  • Sandi Yu says:

    get here from coursera. the example of the structure of pencil and diamond is really eye-opening.

  • Go Peace says:

    So they obviously controlled for genetic connections right? What about food types in geographic areas like the south.

  • Pat McSherry says:

    I wonder what algorithm they used for this.
    There must be some NLP going on here, but how is happy and unhappy measured or obese and not obese? I think he needs to emphasize more on his research methods so we can understand types of errors that he can run into. I'm seeing false positives here.

  • 77777aol says:

    There is a principal named 'Dependant Origination' denoting that all life is inextricably linked. In essence all life is a microcosm of the macrocosm. In other words we are the universe in miniature. As this reality always exists, how do we 'nourish and sustain' this network, whether obvious to us or not ? The key is inner transformation, sometimes referred to as 'Human Revolution'. In order to become happier we have to raise our life state, or life condition, and in so doing we transform our life and so contribute to the welfare of self and others. As our life and environment are inseparable, the good we do for others comes back to us and the good we do for ourselves benefits others; that way we live without regret. The 64,000 dollar question is how do we raise our life state and what is the most effective way to sustain such a process ? Courage, wisdom and compassion are characteristics innate in all life and likeminded people in the spirit unity to create value with the vision of a sustainable and responsible world are all part of that answer and response to what is so sorely needed in this world today. That includes treasuring the person in our immediate environment and rekindling one's unique qualities and talents to make our respective communities, and beyond, a meaningful place to exist. 'A rising tide raises all ships.'

  • Neil Fox says:


  • bubba g says:

    How would one apply this to the world's political history

  • Benji Berigan says:

    this is some real innovative learning

  • Peter Flack says:

    Thank you Nicholas. I have been given the book "Blueprint" for my birthday, I was interested in the JRE podcast with you and him. It was inspiring I couldn't help but think of A.I. and the importance of 6 degrees of connection. In the psychic medium world if you believe in the afterlife there is "connection".

  • 이디 says:


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