Videos

Nicholas Christakis at GIM Town Hall Meeting

Nicholas Christakis discusses Coronavirus epidemiology at the GIM Town Hall Meeting.

Blueprint

“We each carry within us an evolutionary blueprint for making a good society.” Nicholas Christakis

Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

In Blueprint, Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide. With many vivid examples -- including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, shipwrecked sailors, commune dwellers, online groups, and even the social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own -- Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness.

How social learning made us hugely successful as a species | Nicholas Christakis for Big Think

What distinguishes humans is social learning — and teaching. Crucial to learning and teaching is the value of free expression. And we need political leaders who support environments of social peace and cooperation.

Marcus Alexander talks about the Microbiome Biology and Social Networks in the Developing World project

Marcus Alexander talks about the Microbiome Biology and Social Networks in the Developing World project.

Marcus Alexander works as a research scientist in the Human Nature Lab at the Yale Institute for Network Science. His research focuses on the genomics of social networks, the evolution of human cooperation, and large-scale field interventions that improve and extend human life.

Learn more about Marcus Alexander: http://humannaturelab.net/peop...

"Social Learning and Artificial Intelligence" with Nicholas Christakis & Iyad Rahwan

Nicholas Christakis discusses the evolution of human connections with MIT Media Lab’s Iyad Rahwan. Dr. Rahwan is an associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT.

Social Network Interventions: Large-Scale Experiments from Global Health to Online AI-Bots

Recorded 3/15/18 at Harvard Medical School Department of Biomedical Informatics. Human beings choose their friends, and often their neighbors, and co-workers, and we inherit our relatives; and each of the people to whom we are connected also does the same, such that, in the end, we humans assemble ourselves into face-to-face social networks.  Why do we do this?  And how might a deep understanding of human social network structure and function be used to intervene in the world to make it better?  Here, I review recent research from our lab describing three classes of interventions involving both offline and online networks that can help make the world better: (1) interventions that rewire the connections between people; (2) interventions that manipulate social contagion, facilitating the flow of desirable properties within groups; and (3) interventions that manipulate the position of groups of people within network structures.  I will illustrate what can be done using a variety of experiments in settings as diverse as fostering cooperation in networked groups online, to fostering health behavior change in developing world villages, to facilitating the diffusion of innovation or coordination in groups.  I will also focus on recent experiments with “hybrid systems” comprised of both humans and "dumb bots," involving simple artificial intelligence (AI) agents interacting in small groups.  By taking account of people's structural embeddedness in social networks, and by understanding social influence, it is possible to intervene in social systems to enhance desirable population-level properties as diverse as health, wealth, cooperation, coordination, and learning.

"Social Networks Interventions" at Network Science Institute

Published on Jan 30, 2018

Human beings choose their friends, and often their neighbors, and co-workers, and we inherit our relatives; and each of the people to whom we are connected also does the same, such that, in the end, we humans assemble ourselves into face-to-face social networks with particular structures. Why do we do this? And how might an understanding of human social network structure and function be used to intervene in the world to make it better? Here, I review recent research from our lab describing several classes of interventions involving both offline and online networks that can help make the world better, including: (1) interventions that rewire the connections between people, and (2) interventions that manipulate social contagion, facilitating the flow of desirable properties within groups. I will illustrate what can be done using a variety of experiments in settings as diverse as fostering cooperation in networked groups online, to fostering health behavior change in developing world villages, to facilitating the diffusion of innovation or coordination in groups. I will also focus on our recent experiments with “heterogenous systems” involving both humans and “dumb AI" bots, interacting in small groups. By taking account of people's structural embeddedness in social networks, and by understanding social influence, it is possible to intervene in social systems to enhance desirable population-level properties as diverse as health, wealth, cooperation, coordination, and learning.

IDSS Distinguished Seminar Speaker Nicholas Christakis - Fall 2017

MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society presents the November IDSS Distinguished Seminar speaker, Nicholas Christakis. Professor Christakis discusses social network experiments on November 7, 2017.

Nicholas A. Christakis: What Do We Learn from Our Networks? (Yale Insights)

What Do We Learn from Our Networks?

Full story: http://insights.som.yale.edu/insights In his lab at Yale, Nicholas A. Christakis investigates the biological origins of our social networks, the web of relationships that we form with family, friends, co-workers, and others. He talked to Yale Insights about how ideas and behaviors spread through networks, and how leaders can shape networks to make their organizations happier and more effective. Yale School of Management

Opening remarks at Silliman College, Yale University, May 23, 2016

Opening Remarks by Head of College Nicholas Christakis at the 75th Commencement Exercises of Silliman College at Yale University, May 23, 2016

Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives

Professor Nicholas Christakis of Yale University spoke to an audience at Cass about his research into social networks as part of the Dean's Lecture series. Specifically he tracked how a wide variety of traits – from happiness to obesity – can spread from person to person.

Nicholas Christakis on network interventions | WIRED 2012

By understanding the connections within social networks we can understand how to use network interventions to effect positive change, argued Harvard social scientist Nicholas Christakis at Wired 2012.He explained to the audience that social networks are "deeply embedded in our evolutionary heritage"."We've been making social networks for hundreds of thousands of years and they have always looked the same," he said.When visualised in charts, they tend to be dots representing people and lines representing their connections. They are always varied and interconnected, with some people having more connections than others. "They never look like a regular lattice [where everyone has the same number of friends]. We don't live our lives like that. Nor has any naturally-occurring social network been found to look like this.

Nicholas Christakis Explains Sociology's Two Big Ideas

Floating University

MIT Media Lab presentation: ​The Evolutionary Significance of Human Social Networks -- Nicholas Christakis

Networks Understanding Networks @ MIT Media Lab, October 2011. Economies are networks of businesses, just as businesses are networks of people, and people are networks of cells. Networks are everywhere, and the MIT Media Lab's fall member event celebrated their ubiquity by exploring how these structured interactions affect our economy, businesses, health, and even the way we understand ourselves.

Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives

Opening Days lecture by Prof. Nicholas Christakis highlights power of social networks and argues  that human social networks have the power to spread obesity — or happiness — like contagion.

Nicholas Christakis: The Sociological Science Behind Social Networks and Social Influence

Every choice you make, every behavior you exhibit, and even every desire you have finds its roots in the social universe. Nicholas Christakis explains why individual actions are inextricably linked to sociological pressures; whether you're absorbing altruism performed by someone you'll never meet or deciding to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, collective phenomena affect every aspect of your life. 

TEDxNashville - TEDxChange - Nicholas Christakis The Hidden Influence of Social Networks

Nicholas Christakis discusses the how a wide variety of traits -- from happiness to obesity -- can spread from person to person, showing how your location in the network might impact your life in ways you don't even know.

TED Talk, Nicholas Christakis: How social networks predict epidemics

After mapping humans' intricate social networks, Nicholas Christakis and colleague James Fowler began investigating how this information could better our lives. Now, he reveals his hot-off-the-press findings: These networks can be used to detect epidemics earlier than ever, from the spread of innovative ideas to risky behaviors to viruses (like H1N1). 

TED Talk, Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks

We're all embedded in vast social networks of friends, family, co-workers and more. Nicholas Christakis tracks how a wide variety of traits -- from happiness to obesity -- can spread from person to person, showing how your location in the network might impact your life in ways you don't even know.

Social Contagion & Individual Health at Boston College

A 76 minute clip in 8 parts, dated February 21, 2008, of Dr. Christakis discussing social contagion and individual health at Boston College.

Audio

Human Nature & COVID with Dr. Nicholas Christakis

Nicholas Christakis was interviewed by William Reusch for his educational podcast, Cylinder Radio. Topics include what the global pandemic shows us about humanity, as well as tribalism, free speech, and friendship. Published May 20, 2021.

Listen on the Cylinder Radio website

Nicholas Christakis: Sociologist's Book Analyzes The Pandemic's Historical Context & Future Impacts

Nicholas Christakis describes how the pandemic came to be, and what its impact on society might look like well into the future. He analyzes past pandemics, and makes projections as to how we will recover and rebound in the years to come.

Listen on "Maine Calling" (May 13, 2021)

Why don’t Americans trust public health agencies?

According to ongoing investigations by The Associated Press and Kaiser Health News, state and local health departments have been underfunded for decades. Despite that, public health officials have been on the front lines in a pandemic for almost a year. Dr. Nicholas Christakis is a guest on MPR News with Kerry Miller.

Listen on MPR News (February 2, 2021)

Society In The Time Of Plague

Tapping into his experience as a hospice doctor in the early days of his career and his expertise in social networks, Christakis explains what it will take for citizens, leaders, and societies to work together to get through the current crisis — and what we might expect when it is finally over.

Dr. Nicholas Christakis was interviewed by Elizabeth Ross for WGBH's Innovation Hub.


Listen on WGBH Innovation Hub (January 29, 2021)

Coronavirus In 2021 And Beyond: When Will Life Return To Normal?

Pandemics and plagues have always been a part of human life and have an impact on the way we live. Nicholas Christakis, physician and sterling professor of social and natural science at Yale University, says the coronavirus pandemic will continue to affect our lives through 2021 and beyond.

Listen on WBUR's Here & Now (December 23, 2020)

Coronavirus Update with Nicholas Christakis

Yale Sterling Professor Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, returns to JAMA's Q&A series to discuss the surge in US cases and other recent pandemic developments. Dr Christakis is author of the recently published book "Apollo's Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live." Recorded November 23, 2020.

Listen on JAMA Network's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Q&A Podcast (November 2020)

Even with a vaccine, COVID-19 will last for years, expert says

While Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health and other health experts are hopeful vaccines will make a real difference in managing COVID-19, some of the pandemic's challenges are likely to persist for a long time. Dr. Nicholas Christakis, a physician and sociologist at Yale University, has written a book about what the virus means for our lives. He joins Judy Woodruff to discuss.

Listen on PBS NewsHour (November 12, 2020)

Understanding the Enduring Consequences of Covid-19

Azeem Azhar speaks with Yale Professor of Social and Natural Science, Internal Medicine & Biomedical Engineering, Nicholas Christakis, whose latest book “Apollo’s Arrow,” lays out the three phases of the world’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. Christakis argues that each phase will be fraught with risk and will leave an enduring impact on our society, economy, and politics.

Listen on Harvard Business Review presents Exponential View with Azeem Azhar (November 2020)

Denial And Lies Are 'Almost An Intrinsic Part Of An Epidemic,' Doctor Says

Apollo's Arrow author Nicholas Christakis says we're likely to be living with pandemic-related social restrictions into 2022 — even if an effective vaccine is developed.

Listen on NPR's Fresh Air (October 29, 2020)

In Sickness And In Health

George H.W. Bush was discharged from the hospital last week. The former president was hospitalized for a serious infection the day after the funeral for his wife, Barbara Bush. Many people wondered if the two events were somehow connected, if grief over the loss of his life partner somehow played a role in Bush’s illness.

Listen on WGBH