Nudgestock 2018 will see American sociolgist and physician, Nicholas Christakis, named one of the most influential people in the world, take to the stage.

Author of the forthcoming book 'Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society' (Little Brown, 2019), Nicholas is best known for his research on social networks and on the socioeconomic and biosocial determinants of behavior, health, and longevity. His research into the structure and function of social networks investigates how they operate to influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, as well as how we can use them for good. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale, and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science.

We caught up with Nicholas ahead of his Nudgestock 2018 talk to find out more...

What will you be talking about at Nudgestock?

I’ll be speaking about all sorts of new ways to foster and magnify social influence, using 21st century techniques from network science.

How would you explain your area of research in one sentence?

We study how and why humans form themselves into real, face-to-face social networks, and what this means for our lives — for our behavior, health, wealth, and civic life.

What is the principle of “Contagion” in social networks?

Because people are embedded in vast and intricate social networks, their thoughts, feelings, desires, and actions can come to be affected by the people to whom they are both directly and even indirectly connected (e.g., friend of a friend of a friend).

Is there a way we can harness and utilise this knowledge?

Yes. A knowledge of the structure and function of social networks gives us whole new ways to intervene in the world to make it better.

There are various ways this can be done, from exploiting interventions that ‘re-wire’ social connections to targeting ‘structurally influential’ individuals within network to ‘infect’ with ideas and behaviors.

 

Final tickets to Nudgestock 2018 on Friday 8th June are up for grabs here.

More from our Nudgestock 2018 speakers as we catch up with Mark Brooks on the psychology behind online dating here.

We also spoke to Michael Pawlyn ahead of his Nudgestock talk on the beauty of biomimicry here.