Network Contexts and Social Identities Interact to Shape Beliefs and Behaviors

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2022

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This dissertation investigates the reciprocal relationship between micro‐levelbeliefs and behaviors involving identity categories and macro‐level features of social structure. Chapters 2 and 3 explore how social psychological processes intersect with persisting network exchange structures or environmental shifts to shape the beliefs or behaviors of embedded actors. Chapter 2 uses original survey data to show how beliefs about occupations shifted shortly after the Covid‐19 pandemic began, and finds these belief changes persist into the following year for occupations made salient as the pandemic began. Chapter 3 presents a novel experiment that assigned participants to exchange networks with different structures and identity compositions. The findings show that (a) persisting network arrangements effect pro‐social behaviors in a similar way regardless of whether the networks contain actors with homogeneous or heterogeneous social identities, and that (b) interacting with dissimilar others over an extended period of time increases an actor’s trust behavior toward unmet members of the out‐group identity. Chapter 4 extends insights from the first two. The results of an agent‐based computational experiment show that initial network arrangements can enable transitive tie formation between dissimilar others – shaping the macrostructure of the network and emergence of homophily, not merely the beliefs and behaviors of the actors within them.

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Quinn, Joseph Michael (2022). Network Contexts and Social Identities Interact to Shape Beliefs and Behaviors. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25309.

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