A Behavioral Study of Friendship and Social Networks



Webster, Alexia

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This current study aimed to explore the association between friendship and social networks by analyzing the possible linkage of two well-known phenomenons, Homophily and Triadic Closure. Previous research supports social networks being learned through triadic closures. Humans are more inclined to associate a stronger bond between novel individuals (B and C) if we are aware of a common friend both share (A). Research also suggests that humans tend to strongly associate those who look similar to them as being closer in social networks – homophily. This two-part study examined the linkage of these theories by creating a triadic closure task involving a paradigm designed with similar and non-similar face shape(s). The study utilized an online experiment environment, Millisecond. Part one assessed similarity and non-similarity among face in a judgement task. In part two, participants were randomly assigned to either a control or rating triadic closure task. The results of these tests were analyzed using a series of ANOVAs, and trends compared. The results of this study are hypothesized to support that humans associate a closer social network among individuals that possess similar face shapes. This research contributes to our understanding of homophilic characteristics as a determinate for social networks.



Face shape, Triadic closure, Friendship, Homophily