Workshop on Social Influence

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United States
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The digital era creates new possibilities for observing humans’ behaviour, especially the one expressed on the Internet, but we also leave traces during everyday activity by making phone calls, using GPS devices or using any kind of transportation. People who meet together or communicate over the Internet or other channels constantly exchange information, rumours, spread opinions and attitudes. Sometimes it is just an information that is being passed from one to another, but it may also become the beginning of a huge change, either of an individual or even of the whole society – but in both cases it starts with becoming influenced or influencing others. Social influence is the process of a complex nature which involves our location in social network, the network structure and dynamics, time and psychological and sociological factors. At the level of an individual it is rather a psychological process but at the network scale it is strongly dependent on the network structure and its dynamics. Hence, studying social influence is a challenging interdisciplinary task, which, if succeeded, leads to better understanding of the surrounding world.
The goal of this workshop devoted to the social influence process is to present the research on:
  • how the social influence occurs in society at the level of an individual and at the network level (empirical research),
  • how to simplify or find theoretical representation for this complex phenomenon (models),
  • how to target the society to maximize the spread of influence or innovations diffusion (heuristics, analytical solutions),
  • how to influence individuals (psychological and sociological factors, the impact of social media on the influence),
  • how to achieve different goals related to social influence, like minimizing the cost of change or slowing down or speeding up this process.

As the era of static networks analysis is now moving towards dynamic networks analysis, it is a topic of great importance to observe the dynamics of the networks as well as the dynamic processes like the spread of influence in order to better understanding of the human behaviour. Here, the dynamics is being observed at two levels – the social network itself changes and this network becomes a transmission layer for another dynamic process – spread of influence. This is why there is still the open debate what plays more important role – the underlying layer or the social influence process itself. By organizing this workshop we would like to bring us closer to the answer on this question.
This workshop aims to gather researchers studying the phenomenon of social influence in networks and it is indented to be a cross-domain knowledge exchange. That is why we are willing to present the state of the art and current research in this area from different perspectives: sociology, computer science, psychology as well as mathematics and physics, making this event interdisciplinary. We believe that only by taking the advantage of all the above mentioned fields it is possible to move forward in understanding how this complex works and how the society may benefit from understanding it better.
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Developed by Paolo Gittoi