Nicholas Christakis

Nicholas Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH

Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science; Co-Director, Yale Institute for Network Science
Yale Institute for Network Science17 Hillhouse AveRoom 223New Haven, CT 06520

Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a sociologist and physician who conducts research in the areas of social networks and biosocial science. He directs the Human Nature Lab.  

His current research is mainly focused on two topics: (1) the social, mathematical, and biological rules governing how social networks form (“connection”), and (2) the social and biological implications of how they operate to influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (“contagion”).  His lab uses both observational and experimental methods to study these phenomena, exploiting techniques from sociology, computer science, biosocial science, demography, statistics, behavior genetics, evolutionary biology, epidemiology, and other fields.

To the extent that diverse phenomena can spread within networks in intelligible ways, there are important policy implications since such spread can be exploited to improve the health or other desirable properties of groups (such as cooperation or innovation).  Hence, current work in the lab involves conducting field experiments: some work involves the use of large-scale, online network experiments; other work involves large-scale randomized controlled trials in the developing world where networks are painstakingly mapped. Finally, some work in the lab examines the biological determinants and consequences of social interactions and related phenomena, with a particular emphasis on the genetic origins and evolutionary implications of social networks. 

The author of several books and over 150 articles, Christakis was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006 and was made a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010.

Patient-Sharing Networks of Physicians and Health Care Utilization and Spending Among Medicare Beneficiaries.
Authors: Landon BE, Keating NL, Onnela JP, Zaslavsky AM, Christakis NA, O'Malley AJ
View full abstract on Pubmed
Using administrative data to identify naturally occurring networks of physicians
Authors: Landon BE, Onnela J-P, Keating NL, et al.
Medical Care
View full abstract on Pubmed
Population Trends and Variation in Body Mass Index From 1971 to 2008 in the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort
Authors: Block JP, Subramanian SV, Christakis NA, et al.
PLoS One
View full abstract on Pubmed
Social Contagion Theory: Examining Dynamic Social Networks and Human Behavior
Authors: N.A. Christakis and J.H. Fowler
Statistics in Medicine
View full abstract on Pubmed
Born to Lead? A Twin Design and Genetic Association Study of Leadership Role Occupancy
Authors: J.E. DeNeve, S. Mikhaylov, C.T. Dawes, N.A. Christakis and J.H. Fowler
Leadership Quarterly
View full abstract on Pubmed
Parental Influence on Substance Use in Adolescent Social Networks
Authors: H.B. Shakya, N.A. Christakis and J.H. Fowler
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
View full abstract on Pubmed
Genes, Economics, and Happiness
Authors: J.E. DeNeve, N.A. Christakis, J.H. Fowler, et al.
Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics
View full abstract on Pubmed
Most Reported Genetic Associations with General Intelligence Are Probably False Positives
Authors: C.F. Chabris, B.M. Hebert, D.J. Benjamin, et al.
Psychological Science
View full abstract on Pubmed
Variation in patient-sharing networks of physicians across the United States.
Authors: Landon BE, Keating NL, Barnett ML, et al.
Journal of the American Medical Association
View full abstract on Pubmed
Evolution of In-Group Favoritism
Authors: F. Fu, C.E. Tarnita, N.A. Christakis, et al.
Nature Scientific Reports
View full abstract on Pubmed