Scaling identity connects human mobility and social interactions

Pierre Deville, Chaoming Song, Nathan Eagle, Vincent D. Blondel, Albert László Barabási, Dashun Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Massive datasets that capture human movements and social interactions have catalyzed rapid advances in our quantitative understanding of human behavior during the past years. One important aspect affecting both areas is the critical role space plays. Indeed, growing evidence suggests both our movements and communication patterns are associated with spatial costs that follow reproducible scaling laws, each characterized by its specific critical exponents. Although human mobility and social networks develop concomitantly as two prolific yet largely separated fields, we lack any known relationships between the critical exponents explored by them, despite the fact that they often study the same datasets. Here, by exploiting three different mobile phone datasets that capture simultaneously these two aspects, we discovered a new scaling relationship, mediated by a universal flux distribution, which links the critical exponents characterizing the spatial dependencies in human mobility and social networks. Therefore, the widely studied scaling laws uncovered in these two areas are not independent but connected through a deeper underlying reality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7047-7052
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume113
Issue number26
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 28 2016

Keywords

  • Human mobility
  • Mobile phone data
  • Social interactions
  • Social networks
  • Spatial networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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