The mathematics of peer pressure

How much do you think your opinions are affected by the people around you? And how much do you think they are affected by the people one, or two, or three steps removed from you — by friends of friends of friends…? Using ideas from network theory, two of our colleagues, Prof. Ernesto Estrada and Eusebio Vargas-Estrada, have developed a way in which we can start to answer questions like these. For a relatively non-technical account, see the University’s official press release. If you want the details, the full scientific paper has just been published in Scientific Reports, and it’s been published “open access” which means it’s free for anyone to read. Go and take a look — everybody else is doing so!

[Snarky bit: there is a small prize consisting solely of kudos for anyone who can explain what the equation used to illustrate the University press release has to do with the story it illustrates.. There’s a larger prize, in the same currency, for anyone who can tell me whether I thought of that question myself or whether I only did it under pressure from a friend of a friend of a friend…]


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2 Responses to The mathematics of peer pressure

  1. Bob P says:

    No idea, frankly, as to the significance of either of the illustrations of mathematical spell making used in the article, except for effect – it’s a press officer’s idea of clever. And there’s another intriguing example in the University’s press release about touch typing and use of mobile phones by the elderly, where the banner shows a conventional keyboard. Do I get a consolation prize?

  2. Richard says:

    Networks imply graphs. And the equation looks matrixy (it’s a word honest). So A is some kind of graph related matrix – adjacency mibby? erm… Q^R will be the quality of chat from an R related set of peers where alpha is the average volume in decebels when one of them sings a song.

    I’m quite certain there’s no need to define R related as it’s a very well known thing.

    Obvious really.

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