7/6/2012 7:10:33 AM
Most people call it the "art" of persuasion, but public health researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) are trying to pinpoint the "science" behind social influence. They hope a better understanding of human interactions -- both face-to-face and online -- can help prevent disease and promote general healh. Whether the goal is to curb smoking at a local school or to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases within a community, it is important to understand the social structure of the group and the dynamics of influence at play, says Thomas W. Valente, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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