We speak up the time, and time bespeaks us

Dimitri Volchenkov, Anna Cabigiosu, Massimo Warglien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have presented the first study integrating the analysis of temporal patterns of interaction, interaction preferences and the local vs. global structure of communication in networks of agents. We analyzed face-to-face interactions in two organizations over a period of three weeks. Data on interactions among ca 140 individuals have been collected through a wearable sensors study carried on two start-up organizations in the North-East of Italy. Our results suggest that simple principles reflecting interaction propensities, time budget and institutional constraints underlie the distribution of interaction events. Both data on interaction duration and those on intervals between interactions respond to a common logic, based on the propensities of individuals to interact with each other, the cost of interrupting other activities to interact, and the institutional constraints over behavior. These factors affect the decision to interact with someone else. Our data suggest that there are three regimes of interaction arising from the organizational context of our observations: casual, spontaneous (or deliberate) and institutional interaction. Such regimes can be naturally expressed by different parameterizations of our models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-395
Number of pages21
JournalDiscontinuity, Nonlinearity, and Complexity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Communication preferences
  • Structure of communication in--networks of agents
  • Temporal patterns of human--communication


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