The Situationist

Posts Tagged ‘James Fowler’

Nicholas Christakis on the Situation of Epidemics

Posted by The Situationist Staff on July 16, 2011

From TED Talks:

After mapping humans’ intricate social networks, Nicholas Christakis and colleague James Fowler began investigating how this information could better our lives. Now, he reveals his hot-off-the-press findings: These networks can be used to detect epidemics earlier than ever, from the spread of innovative ideas to risky behaviors to viruses (like H1N1).

Related Situationist posts:

Posted in Distribution, Emotions, Food and Drug Law, Life, Video | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Social Situation of Breaking Up

Posted by The Situationist Staff on June 17, 2010

Rose McDermott, Nicholas Christakis, and James Fowler have recently posted their fascinating paper “Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Unless Everyone Else is Doing it Too: Social Network Effects on Divorce in a Longitudinal Sample Followed for 32 Years” on SSRN.   Here’s the abstract.

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Divorce is the dissolution of a social tie, but it is also possible that attitudes about divorce flow across social ties. To explore how social networks influence divorce and vice versa, we utilize a longitudinal data set from the long-running Framingham Heart Study. We find that divorce can spread between friends, siblings, and coworkers, and there are clusters of divorcees that extend two degrees of separation in the network. We also find that popular people are less likely to get divorced, divorcees have denser social networks, and they are much more likely to remarry other divorcees. Interestingly, we do not find that the presence of children influences the likelihood of divorce, but we do find that each child reduces the susceptibility to being influenced by peers who get divorced. Overall, the results suggest that attending to the health of one’s friends’ marriages serves to support and enhance the durability of one’s own relationship, and that, from a policy perspective, divorce should be understood as a collective phenomenon that extends far beyond those directly affected.

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You can download the paper for free here.  For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “Social Networks,” Common Cause: Combating the Epidemics of Obesity and Evil,” “Situational Obesity, or, Friends Don’t Let Friends Eat and Veg,” “Smile If You Love Your Future Relationships,” and “Deterring Divorce through Major League Baseball?.”

Posted in Abstracts, Choice Myth, Conflict, Life | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Genetic Situation of Ideology

Posted by The Situationist Staff on September 26, 2008

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Robert Lee Hotz summarizes some of the recent research showing how genes may shape people’s ideological and political attitudes: “The Biology of Ideology: Studies Suggest Many of Our Political Choices May Be Traced to Genetic Traits.”  Here are a few excerpts.

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In a wave of new research since the last presidential campaign, political scientists are using the tools of behavioral genetics to better understand how and why we vote. Certainly, no single gene can identify an entire electorate. But “in a broad sense, biology shapes all of human behavior,” says New York University social psychologist [and Situationist contributor] John Jost, “and that has to include political behavior.

By matching extensive electronic voter records to documented patterns of heredity among twins, researchers found tantalizing hints that up to half of the variation in our attitudes toward issues and our voting practices can be traced to a political psyche shaped by genetic traits.

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In a study published in May, political scientist James Fowler at the University of California, San Diego, analyzed voter turnout among 396 identical and fraternal twins for eight elections in Los Angeles. Identical twins share their entire DNA genome, while fraternal twins don’t, so a comparison can offer a glimpse of hereditary influences. After controlling for a variety of environmental factors, he found the decision to cast a ballot may be partly genetic.

Then, he went beyond California voters to analyze political behavior among 1,082 identical and fraternal twins in a national database called the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. “Whether you have run for office, donated to a candidate, attended a rally or joined a political organization, we found that those activities were heritable,” says Dr. Fowler. “The environment is incredibly influential, but without genetics you are missing half the story.”

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To read the entire article, click here.   You can download a free copy of Fowler’s papers here. To review other Situationist posts about ideology, click here.

Posted in Choice Myth, Ideology | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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