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Oct. 3: Dynamic Network Actor Models: Studying Social Networks through Time

  • Knox Hall 207 606 West 122nd Street New York, NY, 10027 United States (map)

WHEN: Monday, October 3, 2016, 12:00 - 1:40 p.m.

WHERE: Knox Hall, 606 W. 122nd Street, Room 207

The advent of electronic communication, social media, and human sensor technologies have brought about a wealth of dynamic, time-stamped social interaction data that are often easily accessible to social scientists. This is a great opportunity as many social network theories do not just consider stable social ties, but also discuss the role of meeting opportunities and social interactions. The latter two examples can in principle be collected as time-stamped relational data.

The Stochastic Actor-Oriented Model (SAOM) is the most widely used approach for the study of social networks through time. To date, however, SAOMs are mainly applied to the analysis of network panel data. In the recent years, new methods have been developed to study sequences of social interaction data without aggregating those into data panels. The most prominent approach is the Relational Event Model (REM). Besides different software implementations that are tailored to specific types of data, the SAOM and the REM differ in their unit of analysis: the SAOM is actor-oriented and the REM is tie-oriented.

In this talk, Dr. Christoph Stadtfeld discusses how an actor-oriented perspective can be taken for the study of time-stamped social interaction data and how information about social ties can be used as explanatory variables in such models. He will present a new software package that allows fitting both actor-oriented models for time-stamped network data and the tie-oriented relational event model and compare results obtained from both methods. Dr. Stadtfeld argues that the choice between a tie-oriented and an actor-oriented approach should be guided by theoretical considerations.

Christoph Stadtfeld is Assistant Professor of Social Networks at ETH Zürich, Switzerland. He holds a PhD from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and has been postdoctoral researcher and Marie-Curie fellow at the University of Groningen, the Social Network Analysis Research Center in Lugano, and the MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on the development and application of theories and methods for social network dynamics.

Lunch will be provided. For inquires about Networks and Time, please contact coordinators Byungkyu Lee ( or Mark Hoffman (

Funding support for the Networks and Time Seminar Series is provided by the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series, administered by INCITE, which features events and programming that embody and honor Lazarsfeld’s commitment to the improvement of methodological approaches that address concerns of vital cultural and social significance.