A Latent Space Network Model for Social Influence

Psychometrika. 2020 Jun;85(2):251-274. doi: 10.1007/s11336-020-09700-x. Epub 2020 Mar 27.


Social network data represent interactions and relationships among groups of individuals. One aspect of social interaction is social influence, the idea that beliefs or behaviors change as a result of one's social network. The purpose of this article is to introduce a new model for social influence, the latent space model for influence, which employs latent space positions so that individuals are affected most by those who are "closest" to them in the latent space. We describe this model along with some of the contexts in which it can be used and explore the operating characteristics using a series of simulation studies. We conclude with an example of teacher advice-seeking networks to show that changes in beliefs about teaching mathematics may be attributed to network influence.

Keywords: Bayesian; latent space models; network models; social influence; social networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Latent Class Analysis*
  • Leadership
  • Peer Influence*
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Psychometrics
  • Social Interaction
  • Social Network Analysis*