Allman Family Lecture

The Allman Family Lecture is a yearly lecture that connects SMU students, faculty and the greater Dallas community with highly acclaimed professionals and academic leaders prominent in interdisciplinary disciplines.


Fall 2014 


“Social Network Interventions” 

Nicholas Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H


We choose our friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and inherit our relatives, and each of the people to whom we are connected does the same; in the end, we humans assemble ourselves into vast, face-to-face social networks. How does our embeddedness in social networks affect our lives - our health, emotions, thoughts, and actions? And how might an understanding of human social network structure and function be used to intervene in the world to make it better?

Dr. Christakis will answer both questions in his talk, reviewing the deep mathematical, biological, psychological, and sociological rules undergirding social networks. He will review recent research describing two classes of interventions involving both offline and online networks: those that rewire the connections between people, and those that manipulate contagious processes.  By taking account of people's structural embeddedness in social networks, and by understanding social influence, he will explain that it is possible to intervene in social systems to enhance population-level properties as diverse as health, wealth, cooperation, creativity, and immunity.

About the Speaker: Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is a social scientist and physician who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity. He directs the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, and is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Network Science. He is the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University. Along with his long-time collaborator, James Fowler, Dr. Christakis has authored a general-audience book on social networks: Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, which has been translated into nearly twenty foreign

Thursday, October 9th
5:30 p.m. Lecture with Reception to Follow
McCord Auditorium, Dallas Hall, SMU
This lecture is free and open to the public.

                                  Parking will be available in the D Lot, E Lot, AA Lot, and the Airline Garage.
                                                                      A parking map can be found