© 2018

Complex Spreading Phenomena in Social Systems

Influence and Contagion in Real-World Social Networks

  • Sune Lehmann
  • Yong-Yeol Ahn

Part of the Computational Social Sciences book series (CSS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vi
  2. Introduction to Spreading in Social Systems

  3. Models and Theories

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 65-65
    2. James P. Gleeson, Mason A. Porter
      Pages 81-95
    3. Azadeh Nematzadeh, Nathaniel Rodriguez, Alessandro Flammini, Yong-Yeol Ahn
      Pages 97-107
    4. Sen Pei, Flaviano Morone, Hernán A. Makse
      Pages 125-148
  4. Observational Studies

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 149-149
    2. Gerardo Iñiguez, Zhongyuan Ruan, Kimmo Kaski, János Kertész, Márton Karsai
      Pages 151-175
    3. Fabiana Zollo, Walter Quattrociocchi
      Pages 177-196
    4. Pik-Mai Hui, Lilian Weng, Alireza Sahami Shirazi, Yong-Yeol Ahn, Filippo Menczer
      Pages 197-211
    5. Lilian Weng, Márton Karsai, Nicola Perra, Filippo Menczer, Alessandro Flammini
      Pages 213-228
  5. Controlled Studies

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 287-287

About this book


This text is about spreading of information and influence in complex networks. Although previously considered similar and modeled in parallel approaches, there is now experimental evidence that epidemic and social spreading work in subtly different ways. While previously explored through modeling, there is currently an explosion of work on revealing the mechanisms underlying complex contagion based on big data and data-driven approaches.

This volume consists of four parts. Part 1 is an Introduction, providing an accessible summary of the state-of-the-art. Part 2 provides an overview of the central theoretical developments in the field. Part 3 describes the empirical work on observing spreading processes in real-world networks. Finally, Part 4 goes into detail with recent and exciting new developments: dedicated studies designed to measure specific aspects of the spreading processes, often using randomized control trials to isolate the network effect from confounders, such as homophily.

Each contribution is authored by leading experts in the field. This volume, though based on technical selections of the most important results on complex spreading, remains quite accessible to the newly interested. The main benefit to the reader is that the topics are carefully structured to take the novice to the level of expert on the topic of social spreading processes. This book will be of great importance to a wide field: from researchers in physics, computer science, and sociology to professionals in public policy and public health.


influence spreading complex contagion spreading in social systems epidemic and social spreading spreading and homophily modeling complex contagion Predicting viral memes Spreading of health behaviours

Editors and affiliations

  • Sune Lehmann
    • 1
  • Yong-Yeol Ahn
    • 2
  1. 1.Technical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark
  2. 2.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

About the editors

Sune Lehmann is an associate professor at the Technical University of Denmark, an adjunct (full) professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Sociology, and and adjunct associate professor at the Niels Bohr Institute for Theoretical Physics. He’s also associate director of the interdisciplinary "Center for Social Data Science" at the University of Copenhagen. In addition to publishing in top interdisciplinary journals, Prof Lehmann’s work on spreading processes —  including spreading in both biological and social domains — has received world-wide press coverage.

Yong-Yeol (YY) Ahn is an assistant professor at Indiana University School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering. He worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the Center for Complex Network Research at Northeastern University and as a visiting researcher at the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute after earning his PhD in Statistical Physics from KAIST in 2008. He has made contributions in a variety of areas including the study of network community structure, information diffusion, and culture. He is a recipient of several awards, including the Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship and the LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge.

Bibliographic information