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Social Aggregates

  • By: Lisa Sparks, Kerk Kee & Daniele C. Struppa
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Interactions between individuals and groups of individuals are of great interest in the health context, as they can be studied, for example, with the goal of optimizing the diffusion of important health messages, or with the goal of identifying those members of a community whose influence on the rest of the community is particularly strong. In the first case, one is interested in identifying the preferred path of diffusion of a given message, or the path that offers the least resistance, so to speak; while in the second, one is interested in identifying the smallest number of individuals who can act as amplifiers for the message.

Modeling of social interactions with mathematical tools is a well-established area of research. In its simplest form, individuals are represented ...

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