Saturday, 10 September 2011

First and Last Name pairings in the phonebook reveal cultural ID

Dr. Mateos, UCL

Surprisingly distinct groups show up when millions of name pairs are analysed. (See caption on the diagram). Naming networks reveal the cultural baggage involved in how we bestow forenames on babies and pass surnames from one generation to the next, even long after migration to a different cultural setting has occurred. The approach highlights differences in heritage which may not be obvious in current social networks. This creates a cheap tool for research in population genetics, public health, and social science.

Naming networks built from telephone directories and population registers. Each node on the images represents a unique surname. The links that tie them together represent the presence of common forenames between any pair of surnames (i.e. two people called Pablo Mateos and Pablo Garcia contribute to one link between Mateos and Garcia). 

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