Exploring the collective human behavior in cascading systems: a comprehensive framework

Yunfei Lu, Linyun Yu, Tianyang Zhang, Chengxi Zang, Peng Cui, Chaoming Song, Wenwu Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The collective behavior describing spontaneously emerging social processes and events is ubiquitous in both physical society and online social media. The knowledge of collective behavior is critical in understanding and predicting social movements, fads, riots, and so on. However, detecting, quantifying, and modeling the collective behavior in cascading systems at large scale are seldom explored. In this paper, we examine a real-world online social media with more than 1.7 million information spreading records. We observe evident collective behavior in information cascading systems and then propose metrics to quantify the collectivity. We find that previous information cascading models cannot capture the collective behavior in the real-world data and thus never utilize it. Furthermore, we propose a comprehensive generative framework with a latent user interest layer to capture the collective behavior. Our framework accurately models the information cascades with respect to dynamics, popularity, structure, and collectivity. By leveraging the knowledge behind collective behavior, our model successfully predicts the popularity and participants of information cascades without temporal features or early stage information. Our framework may serve as a more generalized one in modeling cascading systems, and, together with empirical discovery and applications, advance our understanding of human behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4599-4623
Number of pages25
JournalKnowledge and Information Systems
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Collective human behavior
  • Generative framework
  • Information cascades
  • Point process

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Artificial Intelligence


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