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Popularity, Similarity, and the Network Extraversion Bias

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Document pages: 38 pages

Abstract: Using the emergent friendship network of an incoming cohort of MBA students, we examined the role of extraversion in shaping social networks. Extraversion has two important implications for the emergence of network ties: a popularity effect, in which extraverts accumulate more friends than introverts, and a homophily effect, in which two individuals are more likely to become friends if they have similar levels of extraversion. These effects result in a systematic network extraversion bias, in which people’s social networks will tend to be overpopulated with extraverts and underpopulated with introverts. Further, network extraversion bias is greatest for the most extraverted individuals and least for more introverted individuals. Our finding that social networks are systematically misrepresentative of the broader social environment raises questions about whether there is a societal bias toward believing others are more extraverted than they actually are and whether introverts are better socially calibrated than extraverts.

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