Induction of Social Contagion Across Diverse Outcomes in Structured Experiments in Isolated Honduras Villages (Science, 2024)

Share Publication:

Certain people occupy topological positions within social networks that enhance their effectiveness at inducing spillovers. We mapped face-to-face networks among 24,702 people in 176 isolated villages in Honduras and randomly assigned villages to targeting methods, varying the fraction of households receiving a 22-month health education package and the method by which households were chosen (randomly versus using the friendship-nomination algorithm). We assessed 117 diverse knowledge, attitude, and practice outcomes. Friendship-nomination targeting reduced the number of households needed to attain specified levels of village-wide uptake. Knowledge spread more readily than behavior, and spillovers extended to two degrees of separation. Outcomes that were intrinsically easier to adopt also manifested greater spillovers. Network targeting using friendship nomination effectively promotes population-wide improvements in welfare through social contagion.


Airoldi EM, Christakis NA. Induction of social contagion for diverse outcomes in structured experiments in isolated villages. Science. 2024 May 3;384(6695):eadi5147. doi: 10.1126/science.adi5147. Epub 2024 May 3. PMID: 38696582.

Download publications
Download Paper