Parks delivers Scheidel Faculty Lecture on science of personal relationship and networks

macpOn April 29, Dr. Malcolm Parks delivered the Thomas M. Scheidel Annual Faculty Lecture on “Deeply Connected: The Science of Personal Relationships and Networks.” Parks is a professor in the UW Department of Communication.

The quality of our personal relationships profoundly influences our satisfaction, our health, and our ability to accomplish life goals. In this talk, Professor Parks advances a social contextual theory for understanding how personal relationships are initiated and develop within social networks. Research in this perspective illuminates several basic questions about human relationships including: Why do we meet the people we do? Why do some meetings initiate relationships, while others do not? How is the development and stability of relationships linked to the larger networks people inhabit?

In exploring these topics Professor Parks draws on the results of a long-term research program summarized in his book, Personal Relationships and Personal Networks. He also presents preliminary findings from a current project examining how much people really know about their friends’ social networks, a factor that may have implications for topics as diverse as social support and intergroup relations.