Moderators of Structural Balance

Nicholas Harrigan, Michael Genkin, Rajalakshmi Kanagavel, Janice Yap, Martin Everett


Structural balance is the theory that humans have a disposition to take sides in a signed networks, motivated by the desire to reduce cognitive dissonance. While structural balance is one of the most studied theories of signed ties, empirically the evidence for the theory is mixed. We ask why have researchers found strong evidence for structural balance in some studies, but not in others? We propose that for structural balance to manifest in a network, it requires the presence of at least one of three moderators: visibility, consequence, and normative orientation. We use QAP regression to analyse a longitudinal dataset of signed ties of 400 university students. We test the impact of these three mediators on the presence or absence of structural balance.

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