7882 The “Sociotype”: A New Conceptual Construct on the Structure and Dynamics of Human Social Networks

Sunday, February 19, 2012
Exhibit Hall A-B1 (VCC West Building)
Raquel del Moral , Aragon Health Science Institute, Zaragoza, Spain
According to the "social brain hypothesis", there has been a strong evolutionary relationship between the growth of neocortex and the size increase of their respective social groups, arguably embracing the origins of language and the appearance of other specifically human adaptations for group cohesion: laughter, crying, gaze-facial expressions, music, dance... Although human individuals have been terribly resilient and highly adaptive concerning the multiple implementations of their “languaging” sociality, a number of studies in very different cultures and epochs have confirmed a pattern of superimposed social structures with several preferred or “natural” sizes, one of them centered around 150 individuals. Following the conceptual link between genotype and phenotype, we might think on a human sociotype too, understood as the species’ specific structure of differentiated social bonds that adaptively surrounds every individual and integrates him/her into the social life of the species. Thus, our research is addressed to explore the consistency of the sociotype construct both in structural and dynamic aspects. Socio-demographic questions (age, gender, educational level...) were asked, and also some other questions related to the way relationships are kept (time talking face-to-face, telephone, or other resources). All these questions were requested for the four different layers of social relationships considered (nuclear family, close friends, parenthood, social acquaintances). For the 53 variables studied in the “Sociotype Test”, there appear to be quite many interesting Pearson correlations among them. The structural profile of the sociotype has been drafted specifically for adolescents, regarding number of friends and acquaintances and the time spent in sociability. Surrogates of sociality have been extraordinarily developed thanks to the new communication technologies, and are increasingly channeling the interpersonal relationships. The structural and dynamic sociotype seem to provide an interesting new instrument to assess how natural sociability fares amidst all the amazing social changes of our times. Gender differences appear prominently in the obtained results.
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