Integrating social networks and human social motives to achieve social influence at scale

Noshir S. Contractor*, Leslie A. DeChurch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations

Abstract

The innovations of science often point to ideas and behaviors that must spread and take root in communities to have impact. Ideas, practices, and behaviors need to go from accepted truths on the part of a few scientists to commonplace beliefs and norms in the minds of the many. Moving from scientific discoveries to public good requires social influence. We introduce a structured influence process (SIP) framework to explain how social networks (i.e., the structure of social influence) and human social motives (i.e., the process of social influence wherein one person's attitudes and behaviors affect another's) are used collectively to enact social influence within a community. The SIP framework advances the science of scientific communication by positing social influence events that consider both the "who" and the "how" of social influence. This framework synthesizes core ideas from two bodies of research on social influence. The first is network research on social influence structures, which identifies who are the opinion leaders and who among their network of peers shapes their attitudes and behaviors. The second is research on social influence processes in psychology, which explores how human social motives such as the need for accuracy or the need for affiliation stimulate behavior change. We illustrate the practical implications of the SIP framework by applying it to the case of reducing neonatal mortality in India.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13650-13657
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume111
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 16 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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