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Influential Actors in Communication Networks

Adam Perhala, Jungbae An


An influential actor can spread information to others in a communication network, and thus change the attitudes of others by doing so. By identifying influential actors, we can track the flow of information about a policy or product and the resulting attitudinal changes, and utilize this influence to intervene in people's attitudes or to undermine abusive interventions. In this project, we show and test a framework for detecting influential actors in the standing committee hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives–one of the communication networks of policymakers utilizing policy-relevant expertise. The influential actors identified by our framework are consistent with the relevant literature. Our detection framework can be used to optimize decision-making that leverages communication networks such as disinformation and mobilizing attention.

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