According to a study recently published in the journal PNAS, researchers found that personality does not appear to have much impact when it comes to choosing social friendships at school, which are based more on the closeness of our contacts.
This study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, presents a detailed examination of students’ social relationships at 13 secondary schools, with over 3,000 students and approximately 60,000 reported positive and negative relationships, as well as evidence of students’ personal traits.
This study provides important data and outcomes for classroom, school, and educational center management. Furthermore, the research may have ramifications for the development of workplace regulations and practices. Employers, for example, could foster diversity in their teams and work settings if they recognize that variations among employees can benefit innovation and job performance.
“We introduce a metric—the “triadic influence”—that measures the influence of nearest neighbors in the relationships of their contacts. We use neural networks to predict the sign of the relationships in these social networks, extracting the probability that two students are friends or enemies depending on their personal attributes or the triadic influence. We alternatively use a high-dimensional embedding of the network structure to also predict the relationships,” the study reads.
“Remarkably, using the triadic influence (a simple one-dimensional metric) achieves the best accuracy, and adding the personal traits of the students does not improve the results, suggesting that the triadic influence acts as a proxy for the social compatibility of students. We postulate that the probabilities extracted from the neural networks—functions of the triadic influence and the personalities of the students—control the evolution of real social networks, opening an avenue for the quantitative study of these systems.”