Layered social nework analysis reveals complex relationships in kindergarteners

children sitting at a table
Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - 8:31am

Whether we are looking at primates, birds, fish, or insects, social networks are often assumed to be hierarchical: if individual A is dominant over B, and B is over C, then A is also dominant over C. This assumption has been applied to humans including kindergarten school children, but the assumption is rarely tested in any species. In her first paper, graduate student Mireille Golemiec collaborated with PDF Jonathan Schneider (Levine Lab) and researchers from UCSF to develop a method that can evaluate how social networks based on mate choice, aggression, and proximity (time hanging out together) might be interrelated using flies. They applied their method to a data set based on interactions among kindergarten children which they recently published in Frontiers in Psychology. Their results indicate that children interact in both hierarchical and non-hierarchical structures. These results are inconsistent with prevailing views in the field and lead to the somewhat provocative conclusion that we may need to rethink current paradigms associated with social networks.

Congratulations, Mireille and this exciting first paper!