Sociology Index


"Birds of the same feather flock together," and "similarity breeds connections," is the principle of homophily. Several studies have observed this phenomenon by conducting surveys on human subjects. That new ties are formed between similar individuals has proved homophily or "love of the same" is the propensity of individuals to associate and bond with similar others. Homophily often leads to Homogamy, that is, marriage between people with similar characteristics. Homophily by gender was common in most groups, and therefore homophily can also lead to the fragmentation of societies. Homophily affects who people interact with, how interactions are structured, and therefore, the process of group formation, and the course of interactions between groups. Humans exhibit high levels of homophily in social tie formation.

Homophily or the tendency to interact with others of similar type, is widely observed in nature. Sex-related and age-related homophily shapes the formation of clusters of preferred companionships in dolphins, and predicts both the quantity and quality of many primate interactions. Heterophily is the opposite of homophily, and heterophily leads to Heterogamy.

Homophily has been found in many network studies. Twitter is both a homophilic network and heterophilic network. Given the way Twitter works, inevitably people find themselves following or being followed by those with both dissimilar and similar interests. Studies have observed and established homophily hypothesis that 'similarity breeds connection.' Homophilic relationships share common characteristics that make communication easy.

Like Plato who stated that “similarity begets friendship” and Aristotle who noted that some people like those who are like themselves. Evidence suggests that humans also exhibit genotypic homophily, that individuals with a certain genotype are more likely to be friends with others of the same genotype. Homophily often leads to Homogamy, that is, marriage to people with similar characteristics and culture.

Birds of a Feather: Homophily in Social Networks - The homophily principle ties marriage, friendship, work, comembership, and other types of relationship. The result is that people's personal networks are homogeneous with regard to many sociodemographic, behavioral, and intrapersonal characteristics. Homophily limits people's social worlds in a way that has powerful implications for the information they receive, the attitudes they form, and the interactions they experience. Homophily in race and ethnicity creates the strongest divides in our personal environments, with age, religion, education, occupation, and gender following in roughly that order. Geographic propinquity, families, organizations, and isomorphic positions in social systems all create contexts in which homophilous relations form.

Impact of Homophily on Diffusion Dynamics Over Social Networks
Mustafa Yavas, Gönenç Yücel. Abstract: The purpose of this study is to analyze the impact of homophily on diffusion over social networks. Diffusion dynamics of a nonsticky innovation is investigated by varying homophily levels in the social network depicted in the model as the primary control variable.

First of all, the results show that homophily is self-reinforcing. Second, starting from a nonhomophilous network, early increases in the level of homophily have a positive effect on the extent of diffusion, whereas further increases have a negative impact. Finally, several local minima and maxima are observed in the relation between the homophily level and the extent of diffusion. Our analysis focuses on node properties such as connectedness and average degrees in order to explain the observed regular relationship between homophily and diffusion.

Homophily increases the connectedness of different status groups separately, and increasing levels of homophily decreases the marginal importance of a single homophilous tie by increasing the sources of valuable information. Future research involves investigating the coevolution of social behavior and networks by allowing the adopted innovation to lead to value homophily, exploration of different diffusion initiation types, and different adoption heuristic device.

The Evolution of Homophily - Feng Fu, Martin A. Nowak, Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler
There has been little theoretical work on the phenomenon of homophily, the tendency for individuals to interact with similar others. Here, we model how natural selection can give rise to homophily when individuals engage in social interaction in a population with multiple observable phenotypes. The results show that homophily tends to evolve under a wide variety of conditions, helping to explain its ubiquity in nature.

Let’s Be Friends: National Homophily in Multicultural Newcomer Student Networks
Kishore Gopalakrishna Pillai, Constantinos N. Leonidou, Xuemei Bian.
Abstract: This study focuses on national homophily and examines whether ethnic identity salience, self-efficacy, individualism and ethnocentrism are associated with the occurrence of national homophily in newcomers networks. Using a multicultural student sample drawn from newly formed networks, the study found that ethnic identity salience and academic self-efficacy are associated with national homophily positively and negatively, respectively.

Individualism is not found to be related to homophily while, contrary to our hypothesis, ethnocentrism is found to be negatively related to homophily. Through its examination of the effect of attitudinal variables on homophily, this study contributes to the broader literature on homophily and provides implications for managers and researchers.