Vantage point

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Six Degrees of Separation

Arguably, Stanley Milgram is more famous for his experiments about the obedience of authority, which Amit wrote about a few weeks back. The experiment threw up some really disturbing findings, and also played a big role in the setting up of a regulatory board for experiments on human subjects.

But more interestingly(for me at least), he is also reknowned for the "small world phenomenon" experiment which first empirically proved the "six degrees of separation" concept.

In 2001 Duncan Watts replicated Milgram's experiment using email and came up with similar results, i.e the average distance length was around 6. It will be interesting to see if this number - "6" decreases in the future, with the spread of blogs, internet forums and social networking websites.

Labels: , ,