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What can be applied and what can not? (Social Network Theories in our human relationships)


More and more we became available to make friends without facing one another but rather the computer screens or phone screens, it perhaps become difficult for us to approach one as a friend in our real life. This article talks about some of the tactics of making new face-to-face friend based on theories of network theory.

The author in this reading addresses some of the methods: chameleon effect, triadic closure and mere-exposure effect.

We tend to imitate the ones who we like without even noticing such as their habits and languages. This is called chameleon effect. It helps people to feel that they are similar one another, and thereby psychologically find comfortable being with them and make them close together. Furthermore, another way to make the friend we would like is to make friends with their friends, also called triadic closure. Triadic closure is one the network theory that proposes that having a common friend will higher then chance of other two friends of the common friend to be close as well. Sharing a close friend can ensure one another that they are not the stranger but rather have a lot of things in common.

Lastly, mere-exposure effect is another theory that people like things are more familiar with them rather than the things that they have no experiences with it. Same in the human relationships. “MIT researchers in the 1950s when they discovered that college students living close together in housing projects were more likely to be friends than those in different dorms or different parts of the campus”. (Stusinski, 2016) With this study, it proves that we tend to become friends who are more around us rather than far around from us.

I personally thought this article was so interesting in a way that all around us, even in our human relationship, network theory that we learnt from class is applicable. When I was learning about the positive and the negative edges that connects each node can prove the network system whether it is structurally stable or not, I did not really understand how that can be applied same to the human relationships that is so uncertain and variable. I do still think that it is somewhat hard that such human relationship can be easily calculated whether it is structurally balanced or not just by looking at the positive and negative edges within the group. However, in a macro-scale, I do believe there is some part of network theories that we can apply it to our human relationships like the three theories of social network theory that I have explained above.


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October 2018