The role of gender in social network organization

The digital traces we leave behind when engaging with the modern world offer an interesting lens through which we study behavioral patterns as expression of gender. Although gender differentiation has been observed in a number of settings, the majority of studies focus on a single data stream in isolation. Here we use a dataset of high resolution data collected using mobile phones, as well as detailed questionnaires, to study gender differences in a large cohort. We consider mobility behavior and individual personality traits among a group of more than 800 university students. We also investigate interactions among them expressed via person-to-person contacts, interactions on online social networks, and telecommunication. Thus, we are able to study the differences between male and female behavior captured through a multitude of channels for a single cohort. We find that while the two genders are similar in a number of aspects, there are robust deviations that include multiple facets of social interactions, suggesting the existence of inherent behavioral differences. Finally, we quantify how aspects of an individual’s characteristics and social behavior reveals their gender by posing it as a classification problem. We ask: How well can we distinguish between male and female study participants based on behavior alone? Which behavioral features are most predictive?


Psylla I, Sapiezynski P, Mones E, Lehmann S (2017) The role of gender in social network organization. PLoS ONE 12(12): e0189873.