ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Centrality, attitudes and perceptions

Dean Lusher, Garry Robins, Peter Kremer

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 5 - Law Building, Room 020
Date: 2012-07-12 01:30 PM – 03:00 PM
Last modified: 2011-12-02


Past research has argued that social network structure can be shaped by the attitudes of individual actors, for example through the process of homophily whereby individuals seek out network partners of similar persuasion, or the process of influence where attitudes may change through social ties. In this article we argue that the individual actors' perceptions of the collective attitudes of other network actors - whether correctly perceived or otherwise - may also be related to network structures, particularly to the network activity and popularity of certain individuals within networks. Specifically, if structurally popular actors in the network personally endorse attitude A (and not B or C) then active individuals within the network view attitude A (and not B or C) as the prevailing attitudes of the group. So the particular content of attitudes for which such a pattern is displayed relates to the localized culture of the group. It would appear that the presence norms are informed by the way perceptions and social ties are associated, which gives insights into norm formation. Four Australian Football League (AFL) teams are examined using exponential random graph models (ERGM) regarding these predictions. Support for our argument is found and the effects occur even after controlling for other individual-level factors pertinent to sporting teams and purely structural network effects, and notably the specific content of attitudes does vary from one context to the next.