Nicholas A. Christakis

Nicholas A. Christakis (born May 7, 1962) is an American sociologist and physician Berninahaus for his research on social networks and on the socioeconomic and biosocial determinants of behavior, health, and longevity. He is the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science at Yale University. [1] He directs the Human Nature Lab, and he is the Co-Director of the Yale Institute for Science Network.

He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2006, and he was named a Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010.

In 2009, he was named to the Time 100 , Time magazine’s list of the 100 Most Influential people in the world. [2] In 2009 and again in 2010, Christakis was named by Foreign Policy magazine to zijn list of top global thinkers. [3]


Christakis RECEIVED a BS in biology from Yale University in 1984, where he won the Russell Henry Chittenden Prize. He RECEIVED an MD from Harvard Medical School and an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1989, winning the Bowdoin Prize on graduation. [ Citation needed ]

In 1991, Christakis COMPLETED a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System . He was certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in 1993. He obtained a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. While at the University of Pennsylvania as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar , he worked with Renee C. Fox , a distinguished American medical sociologist; other members of his dissertation committee ulcers methodologist Paul Allison and physician Sankey Williams. In his dissertation, welke was published as Death Foretold , [4] Christakis studied the role of prognose in medical thought and practice, documenting and explanatory how physicians are socialized to Avoid making forecasts. He argued dat de predictions patients geselecteerd even from the best-Trained American doctors are driven not only by professional norms but ook at religious, moral, and even quasi-magical beliefs (such as the ” self-fulfilling prophecy “).


In 1995, Christakis started as an Assistant Professor with joint Appointments in Departments of Sociology and Medicine at the University of Chicago . In 2001, he was Awarded tenure in zowel sociology and Medicine. He left the University of Chicago to take up a position at Harvard in 2001. Until July 2013, he was Professor of Medical Sociology in the Department of Health Care Policy and a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School ; a Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences ; and an Attending Physician at the Harvard-affiliated Mt. Auburn Hospital. [5] [5]

In 2013, Christakis moved to Yale University, where he is a professor of sociology and a Professor of Medicine, with additional_image_link Appointments in Evolutionary Biology and Biomedical Engineering. [ Citation needed ]

From 2009 to 2013, Christakis and his wife, Erika Christakis , ulcers Co-Masters of Pforzheimer House , one of Harvard ‘s twelve residential houses . [6] From 2015 to 2016 he served in a similar capacity at Silliman College at Yale University. [7]


Christakis uses quantitative methods (eg, mathematical models of network formation, statistical analysis of large observational studies and experiments) to study social networks and other social factors dat affect health. His work has spanned the fields of demography , sociology , sociobiology , behavior genetics , network science , and biosocial science . He is an author or editor of four books, morethan 150 peer-reviewed academic articles, numerous editorials in national and international publications, and at least three patents. [ Citation needed ] His laboratory is ook active in the development and release of software to conduct experiments and other studies (eg, breadboard, Trellis).

Studies by Christakis and James H. Fowler suggested a variation or personen ‘attributes like obesity, [8] smoking, [9] and happiness [10] Rather dan being solely individualistic framing ARISE through contagion mechanisms therein transmit synthesis behaviors over some distance binnen social networks (see ” three degrees of influence “). [11] Other work in the Christakis and Fowler labs has-used experimental methods to study social networks, [12] [13] [14] [15] and has broadened to use many datasets and approaches. [16] Christakis’s Lab at has leg supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the Pioneer Program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, by the Gates Foundation, and by other funders. In a TED talk, [17] Christakis summarizes the broader implications of the role of networks in human activity.

In 2009, his group extended the study of social networks to genetics, publishing in Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences a finding dat social network position ‘may be partially heritable , and specifiek therein an increase is in twins’ shared genetic material corresponds to differences in hun social networks. [18] And in 2011, Fowler and Christakis published a follow-up paper on “correlated Genotypes in Friendship Networks” in PNAS. [19] Further work on this topic included “Friendship and Natural Selection” in PNAS in 2014. [20] In 2012, in a paper in Nature , the group Analyzed the social networks of the Hadza hunter gatherers, showing dat human social network structure has ancient origins. [21] Christakis has argued dat social networks are deeply related to human cooperation. [12] [13]

In 2010, Christakis and Fowler published a paper (based on the spread of H1N1 in Harvard College in 2009) Regarding the use of social networks as sensors’ for forecasting Epidemics (or germs and other phenomena), [22] beginning a program or research to deploy social networks to verbeteren health and healthcare. In Another TED talk, [23] Christakis describes this effort and computational social science more algemeen. A follow-up paper in 2014 Documented the utility or this approach, again based on the “friendship paradox,” using Twitter. [24]


Christakis has practiced as a home hospice physician, taking care of indigent, home-bound, dying patients in the South Side of Chicago. [25] In Boston, from 2002 to 2006, Christakis worked as an Attending physician on the Palliative Medicine Consult Service at Massachusetts General Hospital . In 2006, he moved to Mount Auburn Hospital , and in 2013, he moved to the Department of Medicine at Yale University. [ Citation needed ]



Christakis’s first book, Death Foretold: Prophecy and Prognosis in Medical Care , was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1999. [4]

Along with James Fowler, Christakis is the author of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How Way Down Shape Our Lives , published in September 2009. [26] [27] It was Awarded the “Books for a Better Life” Award 2010 and has leg translated JSON 20 languages. Connected draws on post with published and unpublished studies and makes verschillende new Conclusions about the influence of social networks on human health and behavior. In Connected , Christakis and Fowler put forward hun ” three degrees of influence ” rule about human behavior, welke theorizes therein lycra person’s social influence kan stretch to roughly three degrees of separation voordat it fades out. [28]

Christakis has ook edited two clinical text books published by Oxford University Press . [29] [30]

Scientific Papers

  • Christakis, NA; Allison, PD (February 2006). “Mortality after the Hospitalization or a Spouse” (PDF) . New England Journal of Medicine . 354 (7): 719-730. doi : 10.1056 / NEJMsa050196 . PMID  16481639 .
  • Elwert, F; Christakis NA (November 2008). “The Effect of Widowhood on Mortality in the Causes of Death of Both Spouses” (PDF) . American Journal of Public Health . 98 (11): 2092-2098. doi : 10.2105 / AJPH.2007.114348 . PMC  2636447 . PMID  18511733 .
  • Christakis, NA; Fowler, JH (26 July 2007). “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years” (PDF) . New England Journal of Medicine . 357 (4): 370-379. doi : 10.1056 / NEJMsa066082 . PMID  17652652 .
  • Christakis, NA; Fowler, JH (22 May 2008). “Quitting in Droves: Collective Dynamics of Smoking Behavior in a Large Social Network” (PDF) . New England Journal of Medicine . 358 (21): 2249-2258. doi : 10.1056 / NEJMsa0706154 . PMC  2822344 . PMID  18499567 .
  • Fowler, J. H; Christakis, N. A (3 January 2009). “The Dynamic Spread of Happiness in a Large Social Network” (PDF) . British Medical Journal . 337 (768): a2338. doi : 10.1136 / bmj.a2338 . PMC  2600606 . PMID  19056788 .
  • Fowler, JH; Dawes, CT; Christakis, NA (10 February 2009). “Model of genetic variation in human social networks” (PDF) . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . 106 (6): 1720-1724. doi : 10.1073 / pnas.0806746106 . PMC  2644104 . PMID  19171900 .
  • Fowler, JH; Christakis, NA (March 2010). “Cooperative Behavior Cascades in Human Social Networks” (PDF) . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . 107 (12): 5334-8. doi : 10.1073 / pnas.0913149107 . PMC  2851803 . PMID  20212120 .
  • Christakis, NA; Fowler, JH (September 2010). “Social Network Sensors for Early Detection of Contagious Outbreaks” (PDF) . PLoS ONE . 5 (9): e12948. doi : 10.1371 / journal.pone.0012948 . PMC  2939797 . PMID  20856792 .
  • Fowler, JH; Settle, JE; Christakis NA (January 2011). “Correlated Genotypes in Friendship Networks” (PDF) . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . 108 (5): 1993-7. doi : 10.1073 / pnas.1011687108 . PMC  3033315 . PMID  21245293 .
  • Rand, D; Arbesman, S; Christakis NA (November 2011). “Dynamic Social Networks Promote Cooperation in Experiments with Humans” (PDF) . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . 108 (48): 19193-8. doi : 10.1073 / pnas.1108243108 . PMC  3228461 . PMID  22084103 .
  • Apicella, CL; Marlowe, FW; Fowler, JH; Christakis NA (January 2012). “Social Networks and Cooperation in Hunter Gatherers” (PDF) . Nature . 481 (7382): 497-501. doi : 10.1038 / nature10736 .
  • Nishi, CL; Shirado, FW; Rand, JH; Christakis, NA (March 2015). “Inequality and Visibility of Wealth in Experimental Social Networks” . Nature . 526 (7382): 426-429. doi : 10.1038 / nature15392 .

Free Speech Advocacy

While zowel at Harvard and Yale, Christakis was involved in the defense of free expression. At Harvard, in 2012, he and his wife, Erika Christakis , cameramen to the defense of minority students who ulcers using satire to criticize the elite final clubs at dat institution, and who the administration SOUGHT to Punish. Ze dat suggested the administration Might Be “more Concerned with ugly words dan the underlying problems,” and therein policing free expression on campus “Denies students the opportunity to learn to think for themselves.” [31] Their argument Expressed confidence in the capacity and maturity of Harvard students to Discuss contentious issues.

At Yale, in 2015, they ‘were involved in a controversy related to the regulation of Halloween costumes. On October 29, 2015 Christakis’s wife Erika Christakis , a Lecturer on Early Childhood Education at the Yale Child Study Center , wrote an e-mail to Yale undergraduates on the role of free expression in universities, and arguing, from a developmental perspective, dat Might students wish to consider Whether administrators arnt bieden guidance on Halloween attire or Whether students Might wish to be allowed to “dress themselves. [32] This email was in response to a lung earlier email cents to undergraduates at Yale administrators at welke encouraged students to be careful als Choosing Halloween costumes, and Provided links to recommended and non-recommended costumes. [33] The email played will a role in Substantial protests on campus dat RECEIVED national attention in the United States. [34] Christakis and his wife in later criticized by some Yale students for Placing “the burden of Confrontation, education, and maturity on the Offended” in response to remarks they ‘Perceived as racially Insensitive, [35] but others pointed out dat Erika Christakis was Defending the rights to free expression or all Yale students and Expressing confidence in them. [36] [37] Ninety-five Yale faculty members signed a letter Supporting the Christakises; this letter noted dat de Christakises distinguished support for freedom of expression from Supporting the content or zoals expression and furthermore stated that ‘One kan differentiation with re suggestion dat administrative bodies arnt not play zoals an oversight role at Yale, but the suggestion Itself CLEARLY does not Constitute support for racist expression. ” [38] Christakis’ belief therein Yale students Could Discuss controversial issues (such as costumes) onder themselves were apparently not enough to Satisfy the students, The Atlantic noted, and he stepped down from his role at Silliman College at the end of the academic year . [39] In an Op-Ed in The New York Times at the end of the year, Christakis argued “Open, extended conversations onder students themselves are essential not only to the pursuit of truth but ook to deep moral learning and to righteous social progress . ” [40]The incident led to the labeling of some students as being members of Generation Snowflake . [41] A year later, commenters Expressed concern about how students and faculty had behaved at Yale, [42]and Erika Christakis DESCRIBED the circumstances dat she had faced at Yale the preceding year. [43]


Christakis is married to early childhood educator and author Erika Christakis and ze port three children. [44] His hobbies included port Shotokan Karate (his instructor mentions im [45] ), and making maple syrup. [46]


  1. Jump up^ Tom Conroy, “New” Institute Will Advance the Interdisciplinary Study of Networks, “ Yale News April 11, 2013.
  2. Jump up^ Ariely, Dan (2009-04-30). “Nicholas Christakis – The 2009 TIME 100” . TIME . Retrieved 2015-11-10 .
  3. Jump up^ [1] ArchivedDecember 18, 2010 at theWayback Machine.
  4. ^ Jump up to:a b [ Gina Kolata, “A Conversation With: Nicholas Christakis: A Doctor With a Cause: “What’s My Prognosis?”, The New York Times , November 28, 2000.
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b “Nicholas A. Christakis” . Edge . Retrieved 2015-11-10 .
  6. Jump up^ Bita M. Asad and Ahmed Mabruk, “Christakises To Be Pfoho House Masters,” The Harvard Crimson, February 17, 2009.
  7. Jump up^ Emma Platoff and Victor Wang, “Christakis named Silliman master,” Yale News , February 27, 2015.
  8. Jump up^ Christakis, Nicholas A .; Fowler, James H. (2007). “The Spread of Obesity in a Large Social Network over 32 Years”. The New England Journal of Medicine . 357 : 370-379. doi : 10.1056 / NEJMsa066082 . PMID  17652652 .
  9. Jump up^ Christakis, Nicholas A .; Fowler, James H. (2008). “The Collective Dynamics of Smoking in a Large Social Network” . The New England Journal of Medicine . 358 . doi : 10.1056 / NEJMsa0706154 . PMC  2822344 . PMID  18499567 .
  10. Jump up^ Christakis, Nicholas A .; Fowler, James H. (2008). “Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years in the Framingham Heart Study” . British Medical Journal . 337 (337): a2338. doi : 10.1136 / bmj.a2338 . PMC  2600606 . PMID  19056788 .
  11. Jump up^ Christakis, Nicholas A .; Fowler, James H. (2009). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How Way Down Shape Our Lives . Little, Brown and Co. ISBN  978-0316036146 .
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b J.H. Fowler and Christakis NA, “Cooperative Behavior Cascades in Social Networks,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (March 2010)
  13. ^ Jump up to:a b “Dynamic social networks to promote cooperation in experiments with humans” . . Retrieved 2015-11-10 .
  14. Jump up^ Kim, David. (2015). “A Randomised Controlled Trial of Social Network targeting to Maximise Population Behavior Change.” The Lancet . 386 : 145-153. doi : 10.1016 / S0140-6736 (15) 60095-2 .
  15. Jump up^ Nishi, Akihiro. (2015). “Inequality and Visibility of Wealth in Experimental Social Networks”. Nature . 526 : 426-429. doi :10.1038 / nature15392 .
  16. Jump up^ NA Christakis and Fowler JH, “Social Contagion Theory: Examining Dynamic Social Networks and Human Behavior,”Statistics in Medicine (February 2013)
  17. Jump up^ “Nicholas Christakis: The hidden influence of social networks | TED Talk” . . Retrieved 2015-11-10 .
  18. Jump up^ JH Fowler, CT Dawes, and NA Christakis, “Model of Genetic Variation in Human Social Networks,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106 (6): 1720-1724
  19. Jump up^ JH Fowler, JE Settle, and NA Christakis, “Correlated Genotypes in Friendship Networks,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (January 2011)
  20. Jump up^ Nicholas A. Christakis. “Friendship and natural selection” . . Retrieved 13 November 2015 .
  21. Jump up^ CL Apicella, FW Marlowe, JH Fowler, and NA Christakis, “Social Networks and Cooperation in Hunter Gatherers,” Nature (January 2012)
  22. Jump up^ NA Christakis and Fowler JH, “Social Network Sensors for Early Detection of Contagious Outbreaks,” PLoS ONE 5 (9) e12948.doi:10.1371 / journal.pone.0012948
  23. Jump up^ “Nicholas Christakis: How social networks predictors Epidemics | TED Talk” . . Retrieved 2015-11-10 .
  24. Jump up^ “PLOS ONE” . . Retrieved 13 November 2015 .
  25. Jump up^ Sharlet, Jeff. “Prognosis: Death” . The Chicago Reader . . Retrieved 2015-11-19 .
  26. Jump up^ “Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks” . . Retrieved 2015-11-10 .
  27. Jump up^ “Connected” . Hachette Book Group. 2009-09-28 . Retrieved 2015-11-10 .
  28. Jump up^ Clive Tomson, “Is Happiness Catching,”The New York Times, September 14, 2009.
  29. Jump up^ P. Glare and NA Christakis, eds., Prognosis in Advanced Cancer, Oxford University Press, 2008 ISBN 978-0-19-853022-0
  30. Jump up^ G. Hanks, N. Cherny S. Kassa, R. Portenoy, NA Christakis, and M. Fallon, eds., Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, 4th ed.Oxford University Press, 2009 ISBN 978-0-19-969314-6
  31. Jump up^ “Whither Goes Free Speech at Harvard ?;” . . Retrieved 2016-07-13 .
  32. Jump up^ “Dressing Yourselves” . Retrieved 2016-01-06 .
  33. Jump up^ Friedersdorf, Conor. “The New Intolerance or Student Activism” . The Atlantic . Retrieved 2015-11-17 .
  34. Jump up^ Stack, Liam (2015-11-08). “Yale’s Halloween Advice Stokes a Racially Charged Debate” . The New York Times . ISSN  0362-4331 . Retrieved 2015-11-17 .
  35. Jump up^ White, Gillian. “The Problem With vilifying the Yale Student Activists” . The Atlantic . Retrieved 2015-11-17 .
  36. Jump up^ “Yale Students Demand Resignations from Faculty Members About Halloween Email;” . . Retrieved 2015-11-19 .
  37. Jump up^ Friedersdorf, Conor. “The New Intolerance or Student Activism” . The Atlantic . Retrieved 2016-01-04 .
  38. Jump up^ “Letter of Support For Erika and Nicholas Christakis’ . Retrieved 2016-01-04 .
  39. Jump up^ Friedersdorf, Conor (26 May 2016). “The Perils of Writing a Provocative Email at Yale” . The Atlantic . Retrieved 1 June 2016 .
  40. Jump up^ Christakis, Nicholas. “Teaching Inclusion in a Divided World” . The New York Times . Retrieved 2016-10-07 .
  41. Jump up^ Fox, Claire (2016)”I find dat offensive”,Biteback.
  42. Jump up^ Kirchick, James. “New Videos Show How Yale Betrayed Itself by favoring Cry Bullies” . Tablet . Retrieved 2016-09-23 .
  43. Jump up^ Christakis, Erika (2016-10-28). “My Halloween email led to a campus fire storm” . The Washington Post . Retrieved 2016-10-29 .
  44. Jump up^ Kolin, Danielle. “House Master Families Reflect” . The Harvard Crimson . Retrieved 2016-08-15 .
  45. Jump up^ [Tabata, Kazumi,Warrior Wisdom, Tuttle Publishing, 2013.ISBN 978-4805312711]
  46. Jump up^