Robert FarisAssistant Professor
Ph.D., University of North Carolina
Office: 2247 SS&H
Office hours: Tues & Thurs. 3-4 pm.
Classes: SOC 2 TR 1:40-3:00PS, SOC 295-1 TR 12:10-1:30P
Social psychology, social networks, adolescence, violence and delinquency
I am working on several projects right now. Two examine social status dynamics using social network data. In the first, with Jeff Smith (Duke University), we examine contextual network effects of status transitions--in essence, whether it is is easier to reach high status in networks with high reciprocity norms, etc. We also consider whether past status has a "drag" effect on future status.
In the second paper on status, I combine longitudinal social network data with data from high school yearbooks. I test two competing conceptual models of the elite--a social capital model, which suggests elites are highly connected and central in a network, and an earlier, Weberian notion of the elite as cloistered and exclusive. I also examine specific means adolescents use to attain elite status.
A second major area of work centers on the nature of peer influence. In a recent paper (with Susan Ennett, UNC) we examine the magnitude of peer influence based on network position and the type of relationship. A new project involves dyad-level analysis of peer influence (with John Hipp at UC Irvine). We are developing methods for discerning peer influence from peer selection, but will also develop directional models of peer influence, asking which characteristics enhance one person's influence over another.
Finally, I have a series of papers which are analyzing aggression from a network perspective. I examine the relationship between the social distance separating a pair of adolescents and the likelihood that one will be aggressive toward the other. In a paper with Diane Felmlee, we examine the role of gender as a modifier of the effect of network centrality on aggression. I also have a paper which examines the role of race in aggression, with particular focus on same-race aggression and academic achievement.