Do Centrals Search More? The Effect of Centrality on Active Information Search and Conformity to the Norm
Individuals in social networks hold varying degrees of centrality. Importantly, individuals with high centrality are more influential than others, and are assigned a key role in the flow of influence over the network. This is partly because high centrality individuals are more knowledgeable than others in the domain of influence. It is often assumed that centrals gain their informational advantage due to their structural position. According to this reasoning, information flows at the central even if the latter does not seek it. However, there are reasons to believe that the central is not a passive information taker, but rather an active information seeker. Centrals greater interest in information might be due to two contradicting motivations: conformity and the need for uniqueness. An important theoretical contribution of the current research is a distinction between two possible effects of centrality: active information search and conformity vs. divergence to this information. Our results will show whether centrals search more than marginals do, and how they are affected by that information.