Three Degrees Lyrics Follow
Three Degrees of Influence is a theory in the realm of social networks, proposed by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler in 2007. It has since been explored by scientists in numerous disciplines using diverse statistical, psychological, sociological, and biological approaches.
Christakis and Fowler found that social networks have great influence on individuals' behavior. But social influence does not end with the people to whom a person is directly tied. We influence our friends, who in their turn influence their friends, and so our actions can influence people we have never met, to whom we are only indirectly tied. They posited that diverse phenomena "ripple through our network, having an impact on our friends (one degree), our friends’ friends (two degrees), and even our friends’ friends’ friends (three degrees). Our influence gradually dissipates and ceases to have a noticeable effect on people beyond the social frontier that lies at three degrees of separation." They posited a number of reasons for this decay, including informational, psychological, and biological rationales.
This argument is basically that peer effects need not stop at one degree, and that, if we can affect our friends, then we can (in many cases) affect our friends' friends, and so on. However, across a broad set of empirical settings, using both observational and experimental methods, they observed that the effect seems, in many cases, to no longer be meaningful at a social horizon of three degrees.
Christakis and Fowler examined phenomena from various domains, such as obesity, happiness, cooperation, and voting. Investigations by other groups have subsequently explored many other phenomena in this way (including crime, social learning, etc.).
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