Bringing perspective into dynamic network analysis

Nynke Niezink


Studies of network dynamics often rely on longitudinal complete social network data. Current models for such data assume that individuals make network decisions - creating and dissolving ties - based on a common conception of what the complete network looks like. However, extensive work on network accuracy and cognitive social structures has shown that individuals differ in how they perceive and cognitively represent the networks they are embedded in. In this presentation, we discuss the intrinsic importance of considering individuals’ perspectives when studying network dynamics. Moreover, we explore how friendship network perceptions change over time, based on data on twenty prospective graduate students at a six-week-long summer school. Using stochastic actor-oriented models, we find a large variance in the students' perception of network change.

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