An experimental study of the small world problem

Jeffrey Travers, Stanley Milgram

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Arbitrarily selected individuals (N=296) in Nebraska and Boston are asked to generate acquaintance chains to a target person in Massachusetts, employing "the small world method" (Milgram, 1967). Sixty-four chains reach, the target person. Within this group the mean number of intermediaries between starters and targets is 5.2. Boston starting chains reach the target person with fewer intermediaries than those starting in Nebraska; subpopulations in the Nebraska group do not differ among themselves. The funneling of chains through sociometric "stars" is noted, with 48 per cent of the chains passing through three persons before reaching the target. Applications of the method to studies of large scale social structure are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Structure and Dynamics of Networks
PublisherPrinceton University Press
Pages130-148
Number of pages19
Volume9781400841356
ISBN (Electronic)9781400841356
ISBN (Print)0691113572, 9780691113579
StatePublished - Oct 23 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics(all)

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