Our graduate students, Diego and Kyosuke, are going to present their research this Weds, Dec 4th, 12:00-1:00pm, at Wednesdays@NICO Seminar Series: Lightning Talks with Northwestern Fellows and Scholars. Below please find their titles and abstracts.
More event details: https://www.nico.northwestern.edu/news-events/events/?eid=554819
Presenter: Kyosuke Tanaka
Title: How dispositional and positional factors affect an individual’s ability to efficiently route messages in a network
Abstract: Milgram’s small-world experiment provided evidence for six degrees of separation, on average a chain of five contacts separated any two random people in the world. However, this was only true for those messages that reached the final destination. While, in theory, the small-world phenomenon is structurally common in social networks, empirical evidence shows that human navigation of small-world social networks is remarkably challenging. Messages often reach the intended destination via a longer path than expected, get enmeshed in loops, and/or often never reach it. This leads to painful consequences for organizations that require information routing to share (or retrieve) knowledge among their members. Extreme examples of these failures contributed to the loss of the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. Here, I present a study of an understudied type of error—network routing—and introduce network acuity to conceptualize and operationalize an individual’s ability to efficiently route messages. Using, 6-DoS (Six Degrees of Separation), a network routing task based on Milgram’s small-world experiment with 435 individuals organized into 25 networks, I explored two types of factors that impact an individual’s network acuity: positional factors (where you are in the network) and dispositional factors (who you are). Results show that (a) those in the core or brokerage position had high network acuity than did peripheral or non-bridge members, (b) neuroticism was positively associated with acuity, (c) conscientiousness was negatively associated with acuity. Further, individuals’ network positions impacted network acuity more than dispositional characteristics. The results of this experimental study illustrate not only the usefulness of the concept of network acuity to characterize network routing errors but also advance our understanding of factors that explain variance in individuals’ network acuity.