Seminars 2013 Fall

2013 Fall


3 September, 2013

Brys Zoltán (Literatura Medica Network Science Section): Network Analysis of Pharmaceutical Ads in the Hungarian Medical Journals – Marketing versus Medicine

Co- authors: Horváth Gabriella, Buda Béla, Tímár György; Pluhár András


Promotion of medical products in medical journals is influenced by economic and professional (medicine) factors. Besides incentives, such ads still play a key role in influencing physician prescription behavior, which is a primer goal of Big Pharma marketing. Using graph-theory based network analysis we examined pharmaceutical ads in Hungarian medical journals. The dataset contained cumulated data of 39 months: 4413 promotional relationship between medicamentums (n=1642) and medical journals (m=99). Various distributions of the dataset showed power law distribution. Journal-Medicamentum bipartite graph were derived and converted into non-bipartite graphs (Journal-Journal and Medicamentum-Medicamentum.). Using the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical Classification System and cluster analysis (Raghavan et al, 2007) we found that similar ATC coded drugs and similar professional journals tend to connect and form clusters. A real-life validated result of network analysis suggests further research in the field.


  10 September, 2013

Michelle O. Crosby-Nagy (Corvinus University of Budapest): LinkedIn Ego Networks as a New Data Source for Innovation Network Studies?


Scientometrics are measures that can be used to quantify the features, characteristics and sometimes the impacts of scientific research. Historically a type of scientometric known as biblilometrics has been used to measure innovation networks--serving as a proxy for linkages among firms and their external sources of knowledge. When this knowledge underlies the firm's competitive advantage, innovation networks can be powerful predictors of innovation performance. Taking a look at the personal networks of CEO/Owner/Directors of firms might serve as an alternate to bibliometrics; where, the Ego serves as a proxy for the firm and its connections as external sources of knowledge. This approach is in line with firm resource theory and adds to the discussion about how informal networks underlie formal networks. Using ego centered network analysis sourced from the social networking site LinkedIn, the study examines the composition of European CEO networks in the pharmaceutical industry. The potential of the analysis as a new data source for innovation network studies is discussed and recommendations for its use are provided.


17 September, 2013

Hervin Fernandez Aceves (BA, Political Sciences and Public Administration & MA, Comparative History and Interdisciplinary Medieval Studies; Central European University): A Relational View of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily and its Royal Court: An Attempt to Project the Social System Constructed by ‘Hugo Falcandus’


My thesis was a study of the scope, composition, and social roles of the Norman royal court of Palermo as reported by ‘Hugo Falcandus’ in his Historia or Liber de Regno Sicilie, a narrative that relates the affairs of state and intrigues of the kingdom under William I and the first years of William II (1154-1169). The Liber, attributed to ‘Hugo Falcandus’ (pseudo-Falcandus), became a fundamental text for the understanding of the Norman kingdom of Sicily in the second half of the twelfth century. The project sought an integrative approach that would allow me to comprehend the social process and political dynamics present in the textual, narrative source. The matter upon which the study was founded were the interactions between social actors as narrated in the text (i.e. courtiers, nobles, palace servants, royal relatives) that were involved in the reported machinations. I assumed that a relational approach can contribute to the understanding of narrative sources, and the two main questions that I expected to answer were: 1) How can one extract relational data and construct networks that visualise and represent the information contained in a narrative source such as the Liber de Regno Sicilie? And 2) what do the networks this constructed tell us about the significance and implications of the social space constructed by an author such as ‘Hugo Falcandus’?

The challenge of how to ‘read’ the text hence became the main focus of my research. In order to focus on the information on social and political processes embedded in the text, I needed to transform Ps.-Falcandus’ rhetoricised periods into a relational dataset; it was necessary to place the relations, not the individuals, at the centre of the study. The first requirement of such an attempt was to present the process of translating a textual structure into a sociological construct, namely, a socio-relational dataset. After the whole Liber de Regno Sicilie was rewritten through Franzosi’s Quantitative Narrative Analysis, I obtained a dataset that divides the social information embedded in the narrative into 420 events. The total number of attested social interactions, coded as semantic triplets, is 1174, together with 89 social relationships also explicitly attested in the narrative. Each interaction and relationship defines an edge that connects two characters. The dataset thus provides a series of narrative sociomatrices ready to be parsed through network analytical tools. Although not all the resulting measures proved to be useful or provided interesting insights for understanding the Liber’s implications, the overall results are a valuable addition to the perspective of the source, and are particularly useful for providing more nuanced images of the historical text.  Measures of centrality and prestige proved useful when exploring only the narrative interactions of influence and communication within the royal court. Furthermore, blockmodelling turned out to be a promising approach for understanding the entire text’s social dimensions, for the structurally equivalent positions strongly suggest the narrative roles used by the author for constructing a social system.


1 October, 2013

Ilaria Bertazzi (University of Turin, Collegio Carlo Alberto):

Debt Relationships: a Power Game. Historical Evidence and an Agent-Based model


Because of the present economic situation, especially due to the financial crisis of 2007-08, many scholars have started to investigate the nature of debt. Not only the subject, but also other problems, such as social and economic consequences related to debt have not been studied yet. Thus, in order to make better policies for decision-makers in the future, scientists have realized that it is necessary to understand how different forms of debt, such as bankruptcy are developing. In my presentation, I will show an agent-based model to describe and to understand the nature of debt, in particular household debt, which indicates that debt refusal develops as an organized movement.


8 October, 2013

Adam Tatarynowicz (Tilburg University): Environmental Demands and the Emergence of Social Structure: Technological Dynamism and Interorganizational Network Forms


This study investigates the origins of variation in the structures of global interorganizational networks across industries. We combine empirical analyses of existing interorganizational networks with an agent-based simulation model of network emergence. Our insights are twofold. First, we find that differences in technological dynamism across industries and the concomitant demands for value creation engender variation in firms’ collaborative behaviors. Specifically, firms in technologically dynamic industries on average pursue more open networks, which foster access to new and diverse resources that help sustain continuous innovation. By contrast, firms in technologically stable industries on average pursue more closed networks, which foster reliable collaboration and help preserve existing resources. Second, we show that because of the observed cross-industry differences in firms’ collaborative behaviors, the emergent industry-wide networks take on distinct global forms. Technologically stable industries feature clan networks, characterized by low global connectedness and medium-to-strong community structure. Technologically dynamic industries, by contrast, feature community networks, characterized by high connectedness and medium community structure. Convention networks, which feature high global connectedness and weak community structure, were not evident among the empirical networks we examined. The findings of this study advance an environmental contingency theory of network formation.


22 October, 2013

Péter Róbert ( Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Political Science, Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences)Educational Segregation, Institutional Differences and Scholastic Achievement Lessons from the PISA 2003 and 2006 Data



The analysis focuses on the relationship between peer composition in school and differences in educational achievement. Research questions refer to testing two competing hypotheses: heterogeneous vs. homogeneous grouping of peers improves students’ performance. Further research questions investigate whether students with detrimental parental background benefit from studying in heterogeneous schools or students with advantageous parental background perform worse in integrated schools. The paper uses the PISA 2003 data to analyze the consequences of the various possibilities of peer compositions. Results revel that pupils’ social background has a strong impact on educational achievement. Having larger variation of peers in the school with various social backgrounds does not increase performance but students with more privileged social origin perform better in less heterogeneous schools with higher social quality.


A second analytical question is how major divisions in the school system like public–private, tracking either by curriculum or by ability, and schools’ practice regarding admittance of students affect scholastic performance. Apparently, parents consider these options when deciding about school choice. Furthermore, school’s position has an impact on students’ performance even if controlled for school composition. The results from the PISA 2006 survey indicate that high-status families prefer more selective schools with the exception of ability tracking. Moreover, the more selective schools perform better, but ability grouping does not improve achievement. Applying interaction terms shows that religious schools are able to compensate the disadvantages of pupils coming from low-status families at most.


12 November, 2013 @ CEU

Vukov Jeromos (MTA MFA KFKI): Incipient Cognition Solves the Reciprocity Conundrum of Cooperation in Structured Populations


From the simplest living organisms to human societies, cooperation among individuals emerges as a paradox difficult to explain and describe mathematically, although very often observed in reality. Evolutionary game theory offers an excellent toolbar to investigate this issue. Spatial structure has been one of the first mechanisms promoting cooperation; however, alone it only opens a narrow window of viability. Here we equip individuals with incipient cognitive abilities, and investigate the evolution of cooperation in structured populations where retaliation, forgiveness, treason and mutualism may coexist, as individuals engage in Prisoner's Dilemma games. In the model, individuals are able to distinguish their partners and act towards them based on previous interactions. In this talk, I show how the simplest level of cognition, alone, can lead to the emergence of cooperation. Despite the incipient nature of the individuals' cognitive abilities, cooperation emerges for unprecedented values of the temptation to cheat, being also robust to invasion by cheaters, errors in decision making and inaccuracy of imitation, features akin to many species, including humans.


19 November, 2013

Barta Zoltán (MTA-DE "Lendület" Behavioural Ecology Research Group): Individual Variation and Social Evolution


Life on Earth has two remarkable properties. One is variation. Apart from the vast number of extant species, considerable variation exists within species, between individuals. The other important properties of life is sociality, as Robert Trivers aptly put: "Everybody has a social life". It is surprising that until recently the interactions between these two properties have rarely been addressed from an evolutionary point of view. Here I overview studies on a special kind of individual variation: personality in insect. Then I present models which show how individual variation can affect the evolution of cooperation.


10 December, 2013

Rácz Anna, Unoka Zsolt, Soltész Péter (Semmelweis University): Micromotives and Macrobehavior in Social Networks


Many phenomena in social networks can be well explained by individual motivations and choices (micromotives in social networks). For example, trust, friendship, homophily, behavioral imitation and social learning can be described as small-scale processes with just two or a few individuals involved. However, many of these small-scale processes interconnect to large-scale social networks with specific features: Clustering,  segregation and diffusion of knowledge are examples of complex large-scale structures and processes (macrobehavior in social networks) that emerge from small-scale motives and in turn have an influence on the small-scale level. In this talk, I will discuss the complex interplay between micromotives and macrobehavior in social networks. In particular, I will focus on how modern social networks research can provide new insights into this theoretical challenge by combining different methodological approaches.