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Familiar stranger may refer to: Familiar stranger, an individual that is recognized, but not known; the Familiar stranger project, at Berkeley's Intel Research.
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The new study shows that this assumption is far from the truth. The researchers classified human relationships into four types: in-roles who include colleagues, classmates, and others who we are acquainted with and see on a regular basis , friends those who we are acquainted with, but do not see regularly , strangers those who we are neither acquainted with nor see regularly , and familiar strangers those who we see regularly but are not acquainted with. By analyzing two Wi-Fi datasets and one dining hall data set from college campuses, the researchers classified all of the instances when two individuals were at the same place at the same time into one of the four types of human relationships.

They found that strangers made up the largest percentage of relationships, followed by familiar strangers. Both types of strangers greatly surpassed the percentage of social acquaintances, with in-roles being the third most common relationship type, followed by friends. The researchers also found that, while the number of social relationships an individual can maintain is conventionally thought to be limited by the Dunbar number, which is , strangers and even familiar strangers do not face such a limit.

Sara Lugo - Familiar Stranger

The analysis shows that the number of familiar strangers an individual may encounter on a regular basis is much larger than the Dunbar number, and seems to be primarily affected by the behavioral patterns of the population as a whole. As might be expected, encounters with familiar strangers tend to occur in a frequent and periodic manner, since they are often a result of individuals' daily or weekly routines briefly overlapping.

This high regularity and stability of encounters with familiar strangers makes these encounters highly predictable, potentially providing a useful tool for predicting important nodes in networks with unknown topologies. This ability could, in turn, help researchers predict the risk of disease epidemics, which could influence immunization strategies.

Familiar stranger (disambiguation) - Wikipedia

Familiar strangers, in particular, could be prime targets for controlling the spread of contagious diseases. Therefore, we can design new target means on the generalization of an acquaintance immunization strategy against a pandemic. In the future, the researchers plan to continue to improve the familiar stranger classifier performance and further investigate the potential applications, including human mobility prediction and information diffusion.

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Familiar stranger (disambiguation)

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Learn more and compare subscriptions. Or, if you are already a subscriber Sign in. Close drawer menu Financial Times International Edition. They photographed people at a commuter station one morning, returned the following week to hand out the photographs, and asked people to pick out the faces they recognized.

About 90 percent of people had at least one "familiar stranger" in their lives, and the average person had about four. Fast-forward some forty years and that feeling of being alone together with others in the city crowd rings as true as it did in Milgram's day.

Encounters with 'familiar strangers' play overlooked role in human interactions

What's changed is the technology at our disposal for studying the familiar stranger. In a recent study reportedly accepted for publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science a group of researchers from the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore observed these encounters for the "first time" on a large, citywide scale.


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  • They not only confirmed that city residents do indeed have their own "familiar strangers" but found an "imperceptible" community of strangers around us — a sort of hidden urban social network:. Viewed as a whole, the empirical encounter network we illustrate here is a well-connected small-world graph, in which individuals are no longer confined to local encounters in one vehicle, but interact strongly with increasing number of people across the whole city from day to day. The researchers drew their conclusion by giving Milgram's old study a modern twist.

    They analyzed the time and location data trapped on transit fare cards from roughly 20 million bus trips taken across Singapore by about 3 million individuals during a week's time. By crunching the numbers they were able to pinpoint when any two card-holders rode the same bus at the same time.

    Most of the encounters they discovered occurred around the same time of day, typically in the morning.