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Examining gang social network structure and criminal behavior

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The current study examines the social structure of local street gangs in Glendale, Arizona. Literature on gang organization has come to different conclusions about gang organization, largely based on the

The current study examines the social structure of local street gangs in Glendale, Arizona. Literature on gang organization has come to different conclusions about gang organization, largely based on the methodology used. One consistent finding from qualitative gang research has been that understanding the social connections between gang members is important for understanding how gangs are organized. The current study examines gang social structure by recreating gang social networks using official police data. Data on documented gang members, arrest records, and field interview cards from a 5-year period from 2006 to 2010 were used. Yearly social networks were constructed going two steps out from documented gang members. The findings indicated that gang networks had high turnover and they consisted of small subgroups. Further, the position of the gang member or associate was a significant predictor of arrest, specifically for those who had high betweenness centrality. At the group level, density and measures of centralization were not predictive of group-level behavior; hybrid groups were more likely to be involved in criminal behavior, however. The implications of these findings for both theory and policy are discussed.

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  • 2013

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Intrapersonal culture clash: the effect of cultural identity incongruence on decision-making

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Research and theory in social psychology and related fields indicates that people simultaneously hold many cultural identities. And it is well evidenced across relevant fields (e.g., sociology, marketing, economics) that

Research and theory in social psychology and related fields indicates that people simultaneously hold many cultural identities. And it is well evidenced across relevant fields (e.g., sociology, marketing, economics) that salient identities are instrumental in a variety of cognitive and behavioral processes, including decision-making. It is not, however, well understood how the relative salience of various cultural identities factors into the process of making identity-relevant choices, particularly ones that require an actor to choose between conflicting sets of cultural values or beliefs. It is also unclear whether the source of that salience (e.g., chronic or situational) is meaningful in this regard. The current research makes novel predictions concerning the roles of cultural identity centrality and cultural identity situational salience in three distinct aspects of the decision-making process: Direction of decision, speed of decision, and emotion related to decision. In doing so, the research highlights two under-researched forms of culture (i.e., political and religious) and uses as the focal dependent variable a decision-making scenario that forces participants to choose between the values of their religious and political cultures and, to some degree, behave in an identity-inconsistent manner. Results indicate main effects of Christian identity centrality and democrat identity centrality on preference for traditional versus gender-neutral (i.e., non-traditional/progressive) restrooms after statistically controlling for covariates. Additionally, results show a significant main effect of democrat identity centrality and a significant interaction effect of Christian and democrat identity centrality on positive emotion linked to the decision. Post hoc analyses further reveal a significant quadratic relationship between Christian identity centrality and emotion related to the decision. There was no effect of situational strength of democrat identity salience on the decision. Neither centrality or situational strength had any effect on the speed with which participants made their decisions. This research theoretically and empirically advances the study of cultural psychology and carries important implications for identity research and judgment and decision-making across a variety of fields, including management, behavioral economics, and marketing.

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  • 2019

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Poincare Embeddings for Visualizing Eigenvector Centrality

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Hyperbolic geometry, which is a geometry which concerns itself with hyperbolic space, has caught the eye of certain circles in the machine learning community as of late. Lauded for its

Hyperbolic geometry, which is a geometry which concerns itself with hyperbolic space, has caught the eye of certain circles in the machine learning community as of late. Lauded for its ability to encapsulate strong clustering as well as latent hierarchies in complex and social networks, hyperbolic geometry has proven itself to be an enduring presence in the network science community throughout the 2010s, with no signs of fading into obscurity anytime soon. Hyperbolic embeddings, which map a given graph to hyperbolic space, have particularly proven to be a powerful and dynamic tool for studying complex networks. Hyperbolic embeddings are exploited in this thesis to illustrate centrality in a graph. In network science, centrality quantifies the influence of individual nodes in a graph. Eigenvector centrality is one type of such measure, and assigns an influence weight to each node in a graph by solving for an eigenvector equation. A procedure is defined to embed a given network in a model of hyperbolic space, known as the Poincare disk, according to the influence weights computed by three eigenvector centrality measures: the PageRank algorithm, the Hyperlink-Induced Topic Search (HITS) algorithm, and the Pinski-Narin algorithm. The resulting embeddings are shown to accurately and meaningfully reflect each node's influence and proximity to influential nodes.

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  • 2020