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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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A model of public attention to salient events.The model of public attention reactions to salient events as fit to the three case studies: “Big bird”, “binder” and “bayonet,” from left to right. Note two interlocked timescales: a saliency/novelty followed by the establishment of a meme that sustains a base-level of continued attention. In each panel R2 indicates the fit of the model, s is the point (in seconds) at which tweet rate is increasing maximally for the “meme,” m reflects the slope of that rate, and λ reflects the decay rate. For more details on the equation cf. methods section.
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pone.0122742.g006: A model of public attention to salient events.The model of public attention reactions to salient events as fit to the three case studies: “Big bird”, “binder” and “bayonet,” from left to right. Note two interlocked timescales: a saliency/novelty followed by the establishment of a meme that sustains a base-level of continued attention. In each panel R2 indicates the fit of the model, s is the point (in seconds) at which tweet rate is increasing maximally for the “meme,” m reflects the slope of that rate, and λ reflects the decay rate. For more details on the equation cf. methods section.

Mentions: Twitter behavior was influenced by the occurrence of salient remarks that took place during the debates. Focusing on tweets containing the root terms “big bird” (10,076 mentions), “binder” (2,889), or “bayonet” (5,458), we analyzed the temporal development of Twitter behavior following the precise onset of each event. Our analysis shows that Twitter behavior displayed a remarkably similar temporal profile for each of these events. The first mention of the terms occurred within 11 seconds, and tweet rates peaked at about one minute after its onset, followed by a slow decay over the next few minutes (Fig. 5). Using the model of meme initiation and propagation we described in the previous section (Eq. 1), we model these temporal profiles in Fig. 6. It can be observed that distinct meme-like events can be modeled with the same functional form, and model parameters may serve to characterize subtle distinctions among them as further shown in the discussion.


Timescales of massive human entrainment.

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

A model of public attention to salient events.The model of public attention reactions to salient events as fit to the three case studies: “Big bird”, “binder” and “bayonet,” from left to right. Note two interlocked timescales: a saliency/novelty followed by the establishment of a meme that sustains a base-level of continued attention. In each panel R2 indicates the fit of the model, s is the point (in seconds) at which tweet rate is increasing maximally for the “meme,” m reflects the slope of that rate, and λ reflects the decay rate. For more details on the equation cf. methods section.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0122742.g006: A model of public attention to salient events.The model of public attention reactions to salient events as fit to the three case studies: “Big bird”, “binder” and “bayonet,” from left to right. Note two interlocked timescales: a saliency/novelty followed by the establishment of a meme that sustains a base-level of continued attention. In each panel R2 indicates the fit of the model, s is the point (in seconds) at which tweet rate is increasing maximally for the “meme,” m reflects the slope of that rate, and λ reflects the decay rate. For more details on the equation cf. methods section.
Mentions: Twitter behavior was influenced by the occurrence of salient remarks that took place during the debates. Focusing on tweets containing the root terms “big bird” (10,076 mentions), “binder” (2,889), or “bayonet” (5,458), we analyzed the temporal development of Twitter behavior following the precise onset of each event. Our analysis shows that Twitter behavior displayed a remarkably similar temporal profile for each of these events. The first mention of the terms occurred within 11 seconds, and tweet rates peaked at about one minute after its onset, followed by a slow decay over the next few minutes (Fig. 5). Using the model of meme initiation and propagation we described in the previous section (Eq. 1), we model these temporal profiles in Fig. 6. It can be observed that distinct meme-like events can be modeled with the same functional form, and model parameters may serve to characterize subtle distinctions among them as further shown in the discussion.

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