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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2013, Article ID 906785, 7 pages
Research Article

The Effects of Decision-Making Processes and Population Turnover on the Formation of Social Networks

Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, 20 East Avenue, Fengtai District, Beijing 100071, China

Received 13 March 2013; Accepted 28 April 2013

Academic Editor: Guanghui Wen

Copyright © 2013 Zhijing Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The researchs on the structure and formation mechanism of social networks lead to several models with differences in the attachment patterns of new links (edges). In fact, the driving factor behind the addition of new links is just as important as the attachment patterns, while very little attention has been devoted so far to this exploration. We present an agent-based model which could successfully reproduce large-scale social networks. We find that the structure of social networks is a consequence of continuous individuals’ decision-making processes based on self-evaluations and the turnover of the population. The individuals’ self-evaluation processes are key motivating factors for the addition of new links, while the attachment patterns and the turnover of the population should be responsible for the topology of social networks. The resulting networks of our model display dynamics between order and randomness, which is greatly consistent with current observations and research achievements of social networks. We also find that some plausible properties of empirical data are actually artifacts due to the boundedness of sampling. Our research has revealed the driving factors behind the evolution of social networks as well as the underlying evolving patterns. These findings will lead to a better understanding of social structures.