K. Bhattacharya – Quantifying social compensation under risks of relationship weakening

Kunal Bhattacharya (Aalto)

Monday 2016-05-23 11.00 – 12.00

Lecture hall AS3, TUAS building

Quantifying social compensation under risks of relationship weakening


Social networks require active relationship maintenance if they are to be kept at a constant level of emotional closeness. For group-living animals, including humans, failure to interact leads inexorably to a decline in relationship quality, and a consequent loss of the benefits that derive from individual relationships. As a result, many social species compensate for weakened relationships by investing more heavily in them. Here we study how humans behave in similar situations, using data from mobile call detail records from a European country. For the less frequent contacts between pairs of communicating individuals we observe a logarithmic dependence of the duration of the succeeding call on the time gap with the previous call. We find that such behaviour is likely when the individuals in these dyadic pairs have the same gender and are in the same age bracket as well as being geographically distant. Our results indicate that these pairs deliberately invest more time in communication so as to reinforce their social bonding and prevent their relationships decaying when these are threatened by lack of interaction.