Journal of Statistical Physics

, Volume 151, Issue 3–4, pp 735–744 | Cite as

Close Relationships: A Study of Mobile Communication Records

  • Vasyl Palchykov
  • János Kertész
  • Robin Dunbar
  • Kimmo Kaski


Mobile phone communication as digital service generates ever-increasing datasets of human communication actions, which in turn allow us to investigate the structure and evolution of social interactions and their networks. These datasets can be used to study the structuring of such egocentric networks with respect to the strength of the relationships by assuming direct dependence of the communication intensity on the strength of the social tie. Recently we have discovered that there are significant differences between the first and further “best friends” from the point of view of age and gender preferences. Here we introduce a control parameter p max based on the statistics of communication with the first and second “best friend” and use it to filter the data. We find that when p max is decreased the identification of the “best friend” becomes less ambiguous and the earlier observed effects get stronger, thus corroborating them.


Complex systems Social networks Close relationships 



We thank A.-L. Barabási for providing access to the dataset used in this research. Financial support from EU’s 7th Framework Program FET-Open to ICTeCollective project no. 238597 and by the Academy of Finland, the Finnish Center of Excellence program, project no. 129670, and TEKES (FiDiPro) are gratefully acknowledged. RIMD is supported by a European Research Council Advanced grant.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vasyl Palchykov
    • 1
    • 2
  • János Kertész
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • Robin Dunbar
    • 5
  • Kimmo Kaski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science (BECS)Aalto University School of ScienceAaltoFinland
  2. 2.Institute for Condensed Matter PhysicsNational Academy of Sciences of UkraineLvivUkraine
  3. 3.Center for Network ScienceCentral European UniversityBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Hungary Institute of Physics BMEBudapestHungary
  5. 5.Department of Experimental PsychologyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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