The nature and nurture of network evolution

Bin Zhou, Petter Holme, Zaiwu Giong, Choujun Zhan, Yao Huang, Xin Lu, Xiangyi Meng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Although the origin of the fat-tail characteristic of the degree distribution in complex networks has been extensively researched, the underlying cause of the degree distribution characteristic across the complete range of degrees remains obscure. Here, we propose an evolution model that incorporates only two factors: the node’s weight, reflecting its innate attractiveness (nature), and the node’s degree, reflecting the external influences (nurture). The proposed model provides a good fit for degree distributions and degree ratio distributions of numerous real-world networks and reproduces their evolution processes. Our results indicate that the nurture factor plays a dominant role in the evolution of social networks. In contrast, the nature factor plays a dominant role in the evolution of non-social networks, suggesting that whether nodes are people determines the dominant factor influencing the evolution of real-world networks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7031
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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