On Sunday, December 4th, a SONIC PhD candidate Aaron Schecter and Professor Noshir Contractor presented at a workshop titled “The Network Science of Squads“, held in Denton, TX on December 3rd – 5th.

An illustration of the relational event model to analyze group interaction processes


A fundamental assumption in the study of groups is that they are constituted by various interaction processes that are critical to survival, success, and failure. However, there are few methods available sophisticated enough to empirically analyze group interaction. To address this issue, we present an illustration of relational event modeling (REM). A relational event is a “discrete event generated by a social actor and directed toward one or more targets.” Because REM provides a procedure for modeling relational event histories, it has the ability figure out which patterns of group interaction are more or less common than others. For instance, do past patterns of interaction influence future interactions, (e.g., reciprocity), do individual attributes make it more likely that individuals will create interactions (e.g., homophily), and do specific contextual factors influence interaction patterns (e.g., a complexity of a task)? The current presentation provides an REM tutorial from a multi-team system experiment in which two teams navigated a terrain to coordinate their movement to arrive a common destination point. We use REM to model the dominant patterns of interactions, which included the principle of inertia (i.e., past contacts tended to be future contacts) and trust (i.e., group members interacted with members they trusted more) in the current example.