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Information Cascades and Dieting

 

 

This article published by the New York times, talks about the health benefits that come along with eating a low-carb diet. Specifically, the article dives deep into one of the biggest studies in weight-loss. Scientist Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian was a key component of this study. In his findings he discovered that the best diet, is a low carb one. Furthermore, he emphasizes that we need to stray away from the low-fat and calorie counting diet as there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that this leads a healthier lifestyle. This raises a question though, of who exactly should incorporate this diet into their lifestyle.

 

We can relate this to networks. As time goes on there are new diet-trends, most commonly occurring in the Western World, or dietary rules people tend to abide by. Whether people are receptive into implementing these diets greatly depends on what people in your social network are doing and of course the threshold rule that we learned in chapter 19. Let’s say that behavior A is maintaining your own personal habits and B would be the diet-trend. Let’s say your threshold value for your network is q>= ¾. Imagine you are in a social network with 4 other people and every node is connected to every other node. Initially everyone is observing behavior A. You are only going to switch from behavior A to B if 3 out of 4 of your friends are observing behavior B. Translating to the real world, you as an individual are only willing to change your eating habits if the majority of your friends do so. We can see this as an information cascade because if you belong to another social network, then it is possible that you converting to behavior B can make another individual in that social network to change to behavior B, and the wave can continue. Through this example we can see that the actions we take can be influenced by the network surrounding us.

 

 

 

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