Social networks representing the pattern of social interactions - who talks to or who observes whom- play a crucial role as a medium for the spread of information, ideas, diseases, products. Someone in the population may be struck with an infection or may adopt a new technology, and it can then either die out quickly or spread throughout the population, depending possibly on the location of the initial appearance, the structure of the network - for instance, how dense it is. The dynamics of adoption -the extent to which individuals are in uenced by their neighbours, the impact of 'word-of-mouth' communication- also plays a role in determining the speed of diffusion. Given the large range of contexts in which social learning is important, it is not surprising that researchers from various disciplines have studied processes of diffusion from a variety of perspectives
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