Giese, H., Stok, F. M., & Renner, B. (2020). Early social exposure and later affiliation processes within an evolving social network. Social Networks, 62, 80-84. doi: 10.1016/j.socnet.2020.02.008
Background: While short-term experiments have found that exposure to social contacts affects likeability, this study investigates its long-term effects on friendships in an emerging network.
Methods: One hundred psychology freshmen indicated whether they attended an introductory event before the start of the academic year to assess early exposure and reported on the friendships they formed with their peers at the beginning, middle, and end of their first semester.
Results: RSiena network models revealed that students taking part in the introductory event were more likely to form friendships throughout the first semester, but less likely to keep them.
Discussion: While early exposure to people in an emerging network might provide a head start for forming friendships for at least a semester, these friendships appear less stable than those of students who did not have that exposure.