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PLoS One. 2017 Feb 21;12(2):e0171472. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171472. eCollection 2017.

Social networks and inference about unknown events: A case of the match between Google's AlphaGo and Sedol Lee.

Bae J1,2, Cha YJ2,3, Lee H2,4, Lee B2,4, Baek S2,3, Choi S2,5, Jang D2,3,4,6.

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Graduate School of Business, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
Transdisciplinary Research Center for Culture-Brain Dynamics, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
Interdisciplinary Program in History and Philosophy of Science, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Statistics, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
College of Liberal Studies, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


This study examines whether the way that a person makes inferences about unknown events is associated with his or her social relations, more precisely, those characterized by ego network density that reflects the structure of a person's immediate social relation. From the analysis of individual predictions over the Go match between AlphaGo and Sedol Lee in March 2016 in Seoul, Korea, this study shows that the low-density group scored higher than the high-density group in the accuracy of the prediction over a future state of a social event, i.e., the outcome of the first game. We corroborated this finding with three replication tests that asked the participants to predict the following: film awards, President Park's impeachment in Korea, and the counterfactual assessment of the US presidential election. Taken together, this study suggests that network density is negatively associated with vision advantage, i.e., the ability to discover and forecast an unknown aspect of a social event.

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