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Timescales of massive human entrainment.

Fusaroli R, Perlman M, Mislove A, Paxton A, Matlock T, Dale R - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: We show that collective social behavior covaries second-by-second to the interactional dynamics of the debates: A candidate speaking induces rapid increases in mentions of his name on social media and decreases in mentions of the other candidate.Thus we demonstrate that large-scale human entrainment may hold across a number of distinct scales, in an exquisitely time-locked fashion.The methods and results pave the way for careful study of the dynamics and mechanisms of large-scale human entrainment.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; Center for Semiotics, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

ABSTRACT
The past two decades have seen an upsurge of interest in the collective behaviors of complex systems composed of many agents entrained to each other and to external events. In this paper, we extend the concept of entrainment to the dynamics of human collective attention. We conducted a detailed investigation of the unfolding of human entrainment--as expressed by the content and patterns of hundreds of thousands of messages on Twitter--during the 2012 US presidential debates. By time-locking these data sources, we quantify the impact of the unfolding debate on human attention at three time scales. We show that collective social behavior covaries second-by-second to the interactional dynamics of the debates: A candidate speaking induces rapid increases in mentions of his name on social media and decreases in mentions of the other candidate. Moreover, interruptions by an interlocutor increase the attention received. We also highlight a distinct time scale for the impact of salient content during the debates: Across well-known remarks in each debate, mentions in social media start within 5-10 seconds after it occurs; peak at approximately one minute; and slowly decay in a consistent fashion across well-known events during the debates. Finally, we show that public attention after an initial burst slowly decays through the course of the debates. Thus we demonstrate that large-scale human entrainment may hold across a number of distinct scales, in an exquisitely time-locked fashion. The methods and results pave the way for careful study of the dynamics and mechanisms of large-scale human entrainment.

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Effects of taking and holding the ground on Twitter mentions.Starting from the onset of each turn per candidate, plots show relative proportion of Twitter mention rises during that candidate's turn. While others are speaking, proportion mentions drops. Proportions are based on, for example, dividing mention to "Obama" divided by the sum of mentions to "Obama" and "Romney" together. Importantly, these plots only include original tweets, showing the anticipated effect is independent of retweets.
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pone.0122742.g003: Effects of taking and holding the ground on Twitter mentions.Starting from the onset of each turn per candidate, plots show relative proportion of Twitter mention rises during that candidate's turn. While others are speaking, proportion mentions drops. Proportions are based on, for example, dividing mention to "Obama" divided by the sum of mentions to "Obama" and "Romney" together. Importantly, these plots only include original tweets, showing the anticipated effect is independent of retweets.

Mentions: Twitter activity was tightly time-locked with turn-taking exchanges in each of the debates (Fig. 3). When one candidate started to speak, tweet rate increased for that candidate within seconds of the turn switch. The models for debates 1 to 3 explained at least 10% of the variance, with the tweet rate of debate 2 being the best explained by the model, at over 30% of its variance, for both Obama- and Romney-centered attention (all marginal R2’s > .10). The models revealed main effects of speaker and duration, with a significant interaction of the two (see Table 2). The positive main effect of speaker indicates that when a candidate spoke he received proportionally more attention, ß’s <−.21, t's < −2.7, p's < .001. The negative main effect of duration, ß’s > .45, t's > 3.3, p's < .0001, might seem less intuitive, until one considers the significant positive interaction with speaker, ß’s > .40, t's > 4, p's < .0001. Thus, on average tweets about the candidates decreased the longer the current speech turn, however, the tweets about the speaking candidate himself increased. In other words, attention follows mostly the one who is speaking at the moment, neglecting the other candidate. The results suggest that entrainment to the turn-taking structure of the debate is rapid, requiring only a few seconds to exert an observable influence on massive social attention. All three debates display the same significant factors, with analogous effect size and direction.


Timescales of massive human entrainment.

Fusaroli R, Perlman M, Mislove A, Paxton A, Matlock T, Dale R - PLoS ONE (2015)

Effects of taking and holding the ground on Twitter mentions.Starting from the onset of each turn per candidate, plots show relative proportion of Twitter mention rises during that candidate's turn. While others are speaking, proportion mentions drops. Proportions are based on, for example, dividing mention to "Obama" divided by the sum of mentions to "Obama" and "Romney" together. Importantly, these plots only include original tweets, showing the anticipated effect is independent of retweets.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4400172&req=5

pone.0122742.g003: Effects of taking and holding the ground on Twitter mentions.Starting from the onset of each turn per candidate, plots show relative proportion of Twitter mention rises during that candidate's turn. While others are speaking, proportion mentions drops. Proportions are based on, for example, dividing mention to "Obama" divided by the sum of mentions to "Obama" and "Romney" together. Importantly, these plots only include original tweets, showing the anticipated effect is independent of retweets.
Mentions: Twitter activity was tightly time-locked with turn-taking exchanges in each of the debates (Fig. 3). When one candidate started to speak, tweet rate increased for that candidate within seconds of the turn switch. The models for debates 1 to 3 explained at least 10% of the variance, with the tweet rate of debate 2 being the best explained by the model, at over 30% of its variance, for both Obama- and Romney-centered attention (all marginal R2’s > .10). The models revealed main effects of speaker and duration, with a significant interaction of the two (see Table 2). The positive main effect of speaker indicates that when a candidate spoke he received proportionally more attention, ß’s <−.21, t's < −2.7, p's < .001. The negative main effect of duration, ß’s > .45, t's > 3.3, p's < .0001, might seem less intuitive, until one considers the significant positive interaction with speaker, ß’s > .40, t's > 4, p's < .0001. Thus, on average tweets about the candidates decreased the longer the current speech turn, however, the tweets about the speaking candidate himself increased. In other words, attention follows mostly the one who is speaking at the moment, neglecting the other candidate. The results suggest that entrainment to the turn-taking structure of the debate is rapid, requiring only a few seconds to exert an observable influence on massive social attention. All three debates display the same significant factors, with analogous effect size and direction.

Bottom Line: We show that collective social behavior covaries second-by-second to the interactional dynamics of the debates: A candidate speaking induces rapid increases in mentions of his name on social media and decreases in mentions of the other candidate.Thus we demonstrate that large-scale human entrainment may hold across a number of distinct scales, in an exquisitely time-locked fashion.The methods and results pave the way for careful study of the dynamics and mechanisms of large-scale human entrainment.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Interacting Minds Centre, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark; Center for Semiotics, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.

ABSTRACT
The past two decades have seen an upsurge of interest in the collective behaviors of complex systems composed of many agents entrained to each other and to external events. In this paper, we extend the concept of entrainment to the dynamics of human collective attention. We conducted a detailed investigation of the unfolding of human entrainment--as expressed by the content and patterns of hundreds of thousands of messages on Twitter--during the 2012 US presidential debates. By time-locking these data sources, we quantify the impact of the unfolding debate on human attention at three time scales. We show that collective social behavior covaries second-by-second to the interactional dynamics of the debates: A candidate speaking induces rapid increases in mentions of his name on social media and decreases in mentions of the other candidate. Moreover, interruptions by an interlocutor increase the attention received. We also highlight a distinct time scale for the impact of salient content during the debates: Across well-known remarks in each debate, mentions in social media start within 5-10 seconds after it occurs; peak at approximately one minute; and slowly decay in a consistent fashion across well-known events during the debates. Finally, we show that public attention after an initial burst slowly decays through the course of the debates. Thus we demonstrate that large-scale human entrainment may hold across a number of distinct scales, in an exquisitely time-locked fashion. The methods and results pave the way for careful study of the dynamics and mechanisms of large-scale human entrainment.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus