Social and Spatial Clustering of People at Humanity’s Largest Gathering
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CitationBarnett, Ian, Tarun Khanna, and Jukka-Pekka Onnela. 2016. “Social and Spatial Clustering of People at Humanity’s Largest Gathering.” PLoS ONE 11 (6): e0156794. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0156794. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0156794.
AbstractMacroscopic behavior of scientific and societal systems results from the aggregation of microscopic behaviors of their constituent elements, but connecting the macroscopic with the microscopic in human behavior has traditionally been difficult. Manifestations of homophily, the notion that individuals tend to interact with others who resemble them, have been observed in many small and intermediate size settings. However, whether this behavior translates to truly macroscopic levels, and what its consequences may be, remains unknown. Here, we use call detail records (CDRs) to examine the population dynamics and manifestations of social and spatial homophily at a macroscopic level among the residents of 23 states of India at the Kumbh Mela, a 3-month-long Hindu festival. We estimate that the festival was attended by 61 million people, making it the largest gathering in the history of humanity. While we find strong overall evidence for both types of homophily for residents of different states, participants from low-representation states show considerably stronger propensity for both social and spatial homophily than those from high-representation states. These manifestations of homophily are amplified on crowded days, such as the peak day of the festival, which we estimate was attended by 25 million people. Our findings confirm that homophily, which here likely arises from social influence, permeates all scales of human behavior.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:27662029