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Violating social norms when choosing friends: how rule-breakers affect social networks.

Hock K, Fefferman NH - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: Using dynamic, self-organizing social network models we demonstrate that defying conventions in a social system can affect multiple levels of social and organizational success independently.Such actions primarily affect actors' own positions within the network, but individuals can also affect the overall structure of a network even without immediately affecting themselves or others.These results indicate that defying the established social norms can help individuals to change the properties of a social system via seemingly neutral behaviors, highlighting the power of rule-breaking behavior to transform convention-based societies, even before direct impacts on individuals can be measured.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Ecology, Evolution & Natural Resources, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States of America. hock@aesop.rutgers.edu

ABSTRACT
Social networks rely on basic rules of conduct to yield functioning societies in both human and animal populations. As individuals follow established rules, their behavioral decisions shape the social network and give it structure. Using dynamic, self-organizing social network models we demonstrate that defying conventions in a social system can affect multiple levels of social and organizational success independently. Such actions primarily affect actors' own positions within the network, but individuals can also affect the overall structure of a network even without immediately affecting themselves or others. These results indicate that defying the established social norms can help individuals to change the properties of a social system via seemingly neutral behaviors, highlighting the power of rule-breaking behavior to transform convention-based societies, even before direct impacts on individuals can be measured.

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Examples of intermediary-based networks.A) Uniform intermediary-based network; B) Intermediary-based network with a single rule-breaking individual; C) Intermediary-based network with 20% of individuals that did not follow this convention. While the simulations were not spatially explicit, the size of the individuals in a network is proportional to its quality as an intermediary (betweenness centrality). Individuals that broke the rules of conduct (identified by their blue color) enjoyed progressively higher social success as they increased in frequency, whereas the success of the convention-abiding individuals decreased at the same time.
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pone-0026652-g002: Examples of intermediary-based networks.A) Uniform intermediary-based network; B) Intermediary-based network with a single rule-breaking individual; C) Intermediary-based network with 20% of individuals that did not follow this convention. While the simulations were not spatially explicit, the size of the individuals in a network is proportional to its quality as an intermediary (betweenness centrality). Individuals that broke the rules of conduct (identified by their blue color) enjoyed progressively higher social success as they increased in frequency, whereas the success of the convention-abiding individuals decreased at the same time.

Mentions: To determine how breaking the rules of conduct affects a social network, we compared networks of individuals who all preferred partners with high individual centrality (by either the quality-as-intermediary or popularity metric; Figs. 2A and 3A, respectively) to those featuring different frequencies of rule-breakers: either with only a single rule-breaking individual (Figs. 2B and 3B) or with a substantial proportion (20%) of rule-breaking individuals (Figs. 2C and 3C). We then calculated the individual centrality that each individual could expect to attain, and the group-wide level of centrality as an emergent property of the group. By calculating the impact of rule-breaking behavior at different levels of organizational success, we determined that it is possible to affect the organizational structure of a group without directly affecting the social positions of individuals. Such system-level consequences offer quantitative insights into the transformative powers of rule-breaking behavior in groups that adhere to social norms and conventions and/or rely on the network structure to function effectively.


Violating social norms when choosing friends: how rule-breakers affect social networks.

Hock K, Fefferman NH - PLoS ONE (2011)

Examples of intermediary-based networks.A) Uniform intermediary-based network; B) Intermediary-based network with a single rule-breaking individual; C) Intermediary-based network with 20% of individuals that did not follow this convention. While the simulations were not spatially explicit, the size of the individuals in a network is proportional to its quality as an intermediary (betweenness centrality). Individuals that broke the rules of conduct (identified by their blue color) enjoyed progressively higher social success as they increased in frequency, whereas the success of the convention-abiding individuals decreased at the same time.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3198795&req=5

pone-0026652-g002: Examples of intermediary-based networks.A) Uniform intermediary-based network; B) Intermediary-based network with a single rule-breaking individual; C) Intermediary-based network with 20% of individuals that did not follow this convention. While the simulations were not spatially explicit, the size of the individuals in a network is proportional to its quality as an intermediary (betweenness centrality). Individuals that broke the rules of conduct (identified by their blue color) enjoyed progressively higher social success as they increased in frequency, whereas the success of the convention-abiding individuals decreased at the same time.
Mentions: To determine how breaking the rules of conduct affects a social network, we compared networks of individuals who all preferred partners with high individual centrality (by either the quality-as-intermediary or popularity metric; Figs. 2A and 3A, respectively) to those featuring different frequencies of rule-breakers: either with only a single rule-breaking individual (Figs. 2B and 3B) or with a substantial proportion (20%) of rule-breaking individuals (Figs. 2C and 3C). We then calculated the individual centrality that each individual could expect to attain, and the group-wide level of centrality as an emergent property of the group. By calculating the impact of rule-breaking behavior at different levels of organizational success, we determined that it is possible to affect the organizational structure of a group without directly affecting the social positions of individuals. Such system-level consequences offer quantitative insights into the transformative powers of rule-breaking behavior in groups that adhere to social norms and conventions and/or rely on the network structure to function effectively.

Bottom Line: Using dynamic, self-organizing social network models we demonstrate that defying conventions in a social system can affect multiple levels of social and organizational success independently.Such actions primarily affect actors' own positions within the network, but individuals can also affect the overall structure of a network even without immediately affecting themselves or others.These results indicate that defying the established social norms can help individuals to change the properties of a social system via seemingly neutral behaviors, highlighting the power of rule-breaking behavior to transform convention-based societies, even before direct impacts on individuals can be measured.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Ecology, Evolution & Natural Resources, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States of America. hock@aesop.rutgers.edu

ABSTRACT
Social networks rely on basic rules of conduct to yield functioning societies in both human and animal populations. As individuals follow established rules, their behavioral decisions shape the social network and give it structure. Using dynamic, self-organizing social network models we demonstrate that defying conventions in a social system can affect multiple levels of social and organizational success independently. Such actions primarily affect actors' own positions within the network, but individuals can also affect the overall structure of a network even without immediately affecting themselves or others. These results indicate that defying the established social norms can help individuals to change the properties of a social system via seemingly neutral behaviors, highlighting the power of rule-breaking behavior to transform convention-based societies, even before direct impacts on individuals can be measured.

Show MeSH