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Human behaviour is thought to spread through face-to-face social networks, but it is difficult to identify social influence effects in observational studies, and it is unknown whether online social networks operate in the same way. Here we report results from a randomized controlled trial of political mobilization messages delivered to 61 million Facebook(More)
It is well known that humans tend to associate with other humans who have similar characteristics, but it is unclear whether this tendency has consequences for the distribution of genotypes in a population. Although geneticists have shown that populations tend to stratify genetically, this process results from geographic sorting or assortative mating, and(More)
One of the strongest regularities in the empirical political science literature is the well-known correlation in parent and child partisan behavior. Until recently, this phenomenon was thought to result solely from parental socialization, but new evidence on genetic sources of behavior suggests it might also be due to heritability. In this article, the(More)
Scholars in many fields have long noted the importance of social context in the development of political ideology. Recent work suggests that political ideology also has a heritable component, but no specific gene variant or combination of variants associated with political ideology have so far been identified. Here, we hypothesize that individuals with a(More)
Some social connections are stronger than others. People have not only friends, but also best friends. Social scientists have long recognized this characteristic of social connections and researchers frequently use the term tie strength to refer to this concept. We used online interaction data (specifically, Facebook interactions) to successfully identify(More)
There has been growing interest in the use of genetic models to expand the understanding of political preferences, attitudes, and behaviors. Researchers in the social sciences have begun incorporating these models and have revealed that genetic differences account for individual differences in political beliefs, behaviors, and responses to the political(More)
Researchers often face the problem of needing to protect the privacy of subjects while also needing to integrate data that contains personal information from diverse data sources. The advent of computational social science and the enormous amount of data about people that is being collected makes protecting the privacy of research subjects ever more(More)
Does lawmaker behavior influence electoral outcomes? Observational studies cannot elucidate the effect of legislative proposals on electoral outcomes, since effects are confounded by unobserved differences in legislative and political skill. We take advantage of a unique natural experiment in the Canadian House of Commons that allows us to estimate how(More)
H ow does living in a battleground state during a presidential election affect an individual's political engagement? We utilize a unique collection of 113 million Facebook status updates to compare users' political discussion during the 2008 election. " Battleground " state users are significantly more likely to discuss politics in the campaign season than(More)