Personality traits and ego-network dynamics

Simone Centellegher, Eduardo López, Jari Saramäki, Bruno Lepri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
193 Downloads (Pure)


Strong and supportive social relationships are fundamental to our well-being. However, there are costs to their maintenance, resulting in a trade-off between quality and quantity, a typical strategy being to put a lot of effort on a few high-intensity relationships while maintaining larger numbers of less close relationships. It has also been shown that there are persistent individual differences in this pattern; some individuals allocate their efforts more uniformly across their networks, while others strongly focus on their closest relationships. Furthermore, some individuals maintain more stable networks than others. Here, we focus on how personality traits of individuals affect this picture, using mobile phone calls records and survey data from the Mobile Territorial Lab (MTL) study. In particular, we look at the relationship between personality traits and the (i) persistence of social signatures, namely the similarity of the social signature shape of an individual measured in different time intervals; (ii) the turnover in egocentric networks, that is, differences in the set of alters present at two consecutive temporal intervals; and (iii) the rank dynamics defined as the variation of alter rankings in egocentric networks in consecutive intervals. We observe that some traits have effects on the stability of the social signatures as well as network turnover and rank dynamics. As an example, individuals who score highly in the Openness to Experience trait tend to have higher levels of network turnover and larger alter rank variations. On broader terms, our study shows that personality traits clearly affect the ways in which individuals maintain their personal networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0173110
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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